For the Select Committee to receive a presentation from the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Partnership of Clinical Commissioning Groups providing an overview of Autism Assessment Services for Children and Young People.
The Committee received a presentation on Autism Assessment Services for children and young people from representatives of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Partnership of Clinical Commissioning Groups (Item 7 in the Minute Book).
Members were led through the presentation slides and the current situation in relation to autism assessment services was explained and it was heard that £1million had been invested into the service by the CCGs during the period 2018/19. Members also heard details about the NHS long term plan and noted that following the Demand and Capacity Peer Review of CAMHS, it had been recommended that autism assessment should not return to CAMHS.
The background to the Autism Pioneer Programme was also explained as well as the drivers for the increase in referrals and the scope of the programme. In relation to the main findings, it was heard that these included a desire for a new way of working and joined up working across other services. Officers explained the summary of recommendations which included developing services for both CAMHS and Autism and neurodiversity. Members noted that in relation to education support and provision, schools have access to a range of advice and guidance to help meet the needs of children with autism. Officers concluded by highlighting the options appraisal for a future autism assessment service, and it was also heard that additional funding of £1.7million for 2020/21 was being considered with a view to bringing down waiting times to 6 months.
In response to questions, Members heard:
· That work was ongoing with schools to raise awareness around autism, including the use of visual stimulus.
· That schools were responsible for their own professional development, and educational psychologists have been leading on training, but there wasn’t a guarantee that all schools would use this. At a primary level the autism ambassador in schools was likely to be the SENCO lead.
· In assisting families, organisations such as Autism Hampshire and Barnardo’s have co-produced autism literature with the help of parents and young people. There was a keenness to develop YouTube clips.
· If a child presented autism symptoms, then they should be able to access relevant services without a diagnosis, and this was being embedded in schools and across the network, but some parents prefer to have the diagnosis.
· That there has been an increase in assessments for adult autism, as some parents have recognised similar traits in themselves which their children present.
· That there has been an increase in demand for the assessment service, and this has been heightened by the increase in age for access to services for children and young people to 25 years old.
· That an Education, Health and Care Plan was designed to provide a holistic plan until the age of 25 years.
It was proposed that a further update be presented to the Committee in 12
months’ time and this was agreed by Members.
a) That the Children and Young People Select Committee received and noted the overview provided in the presentation.
b) That the Children and Young People Committee requested that a further update be brought to the Committee in 12 months’ time, to include progress made on reducing waiting times for assessments.