Single pathway aims to speed autism and ADHD diagnosis for Calderdale's young people
A single track assessment for young people to get an autism diagnosis is being developed by health chiefs.
Members of Calderdale Council’s Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Board were told about the latest developments before the coronavirus lockdown.
A report into progress was presented by watchdog Healthwatch and Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group which set out health partnerships’ purpose of combining ADHD and Autism pathways.
Streamlining the process should make diagnosis quicker and access to help, support and care earlier, members heard.
When fully developed the assessment will consist of a “neurodevelopment pathway” which combined assessments for both
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Autism, enabling a simultaneous diagnosis of either without having to start the process again for either.
South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which provides community, mental health and learning disability services to people widely in the county said assessments had already been combined in neighbouring Kirklees.
Feedback from parents had been positive.
Parents and carers can self-refer their child for assessment with a single point of contact, members heard.
Training has also been undertaken by staff in the Open Minds partnership to support best practice for both Autism and mental health.
Responding to questions from members, partnership representatives said the common pathway was already also being implemented in Calderdale but at the moment the waiting lists for ADHD and Autism were still being managed separately.
Before the coronavirus pandemic struck, the plan was to implement the pathway by summer 2020.
Although there are two waiting lists additional tests can be carried out to determine whether a diagnosis was ADHD or Autism, avoiding practitioners having to place young people on to another waiting list.
Members asked whether waiting times, ranging from six months to two years at the moment, would be improved and were told the plan aimed to reduce waiting times to 12 months this spring.
It was anticipated waiting times would reduce over time as the two pathways were merged but further staffing would be needed in the interim in order to manage this efficiently.
Calderdale Council Cabinet member for Children and Young People’s Services, Coun Adam Wilkinson (Lab, Sowerby Bridge) said more support was needed for parents while they were still waiting for their child to be diagnosed.