York & North Yorkshire

Concerns over delays in autism diagnosis in North Yorkshire

A charity has raised concerns over the lack of an autism diagnosis service for older children in the Harrogate area.

The National Autistic Society said that there had not been a service for children aged over seven since 2009.

The service is split between under sevens and over sevens.

The local NHS trust said they were setting up a service and the delay was caused by problems in recruiting a psychiatrist.

John Furlong, from the town's branch of the National Autistic Society, said the NHS North Yorkshire and York Primary Care Trust had "made repeated promises to get that [over sevens' service] up and running."

Mr Furlong said that a lack of diagnosis was affecting families gaining access to support services for their children.

"It's emotionally very draining and it puts a great deal of stress on the family," he said.

"What you want as a family is support and having a diagnosis helps to achieve better support."

NHS North Yorkshire and York Primary Care Trust said that National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) only issued guidance on Autism Spectrum Disorder in a report last year.

They said they were setting up a service based on the NICE guidelines and were trying to recruit a clinical psychiatrist to run it.

The trust said: "We are aware of some delays to this recruitment process and we are looking at interim arrangements to ensure the service is made available to patients as soon as possible."

Last year, the trust was forced to apologise after it emerged that parents in parts of North Yorkshire had been waiting more than two years to get their children diagnosed with autism.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites