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Kent patients part of national report on autism
Work undertaken by Healthwatch Kent has helped to inform a new national insight report looking at autism services for children and young people.
Children and Young People with Autism: Findings from the Healthwatch Network, published today, brings together findings by 33 local Healthwatch across the country. Parents told them about a range of issues, including:
• Some GP surgeries and schools find it difficult to spot the signs of autism consistently
• Parent carers felt that doctors did not listen to them when they said their child was experiencing problems.
• Long waiting times for young people to get an appointment for a diagnosis assessment
• Families said they don’t know where to seek help in a crisis.
Healthwatch Kent found that families faced particular challenges when seeking a diagnosis for their child. Parents and carers also told Healthwatch Kent that the child often didn’t get the mental health support they needed following a diagnosis.
However, the Healthwatch network is helping to drive improvements. Healthwatch Kent heard that people were struggling to get a diagnosis assessment which would help them to get the support they needed. This feedback has been shared as part of a review of Autistic services in Kent and we hope will ensure the new service will address these concerns.
Commenting on the report, Dame Christine Lenehan, Director of the Council for Disabled Children, said: “I’m delighted to see this briefing from Healthwatch on autism services for young people. This is a key area of challenge, as numbers of those diagnosed grow and services contract.
It’s important that we learn from the good practice examples in this report and build on these to ensure young people with autism are supported to achieve the very best outcomes.”
Healthwatch Kent’s Steve Inett said, “We spoke to over 200 parents, young people and professionals about their experiences of mental health services. Many of them raised significant concerns about autistic services especially those people who were waiting for a diagnosis. We have shared all our findings with Healthwatch England as part of this national report but we also continue to seek improvements at local level in Kent.”