22/12/2016

Number Of Children Waiting For Autism Assessment Increases By 280%

The number of children in Northern Ireland currently waiting for an autism spectrum assessment has risen by 280% over the last five years, the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) has revealed.

The number of children increased from 607 in 2012 to 2,325 in the same period this year.

Ulster Unionist Health Spokesperson, Jo-Anne Dobson MLA, said she was "shocked" at the figures.

She said: "Whilst some of this can be explained by a significant increase in the number of referrals, it is yet another example of where demand is now far outstretching capacity in the local health service.
News Image
"It is widely accepted that early intervention is far more cost effective, but even more importantly it is beneficial for young people. Receiving a timely diagnosis can enable parents to better understand their child and ensure that they have access to crucial help and support.

"Unfortunately, it often takes a couple years in the school system before families realise there may be a problem. If they are then forced to wait a couple more years for an assessment by that stage they’ve potentially lost much more ground and their long-term learning could be negatively impacted.

"The very first thing that needs to happen is ensuring we have a sufficient workforce that has the capacity to deliver these assessments, for until we do waiting times will inevitably continue to deteriorate."

(CD)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

06 September 2019
Other News In Brief
Ulster Carpets Delivers £28k Boost To NI Hospice Portadown-based firm Ulster Carpets has presented NI Children's Hospice with a cheque for an amazing £28,246 following a three year partnership with the charity. Employees at Ulster Carpets raised the funds by taking part in marathons and hosting various bacon butty, stew and dessert mornings.
20 September 2019
Disadvantaged Children Found To Read & Exercise Less
A research study fronted by Queen's University Belfast has found that children from disadvantaged backgrounds spend less time exercising and reading in comparison to their peers as they get older.
17 September 2019
Top Tips For A Healthy Student Life
Students across Northern Ireland are being reminded to prioritise their health and wellbeing as they embark on a new term at college or university. Freshers' Week kicked off on Monday, with thousands flocking to shared accommodation to prepare for the new academic year.
05 December 2002
Rise in hospital waiting lists 'disappointing' says Browne
Hospital waiting lists have risen by almost 3,500 in the past year – leaving Northern Ireland trailing behind its UK counterparts – according to statistics contained in the health department's quarterly review of waiting lists.
06 June 2002
Hospital waiting lists peak to new record
The number of people on hospital waiting lists in the province has reached an all-time high. According to the latest quarterly figures there are almost 59,000 people on hospital waiting lists – an increase of over 1,000 on the previous quarter – and much higher than the targets set by government.