The last couple of days I have been reading a few articles stating that children may no longer be able to get NHS referrals for assessment and diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in South West London.
South West London St George’s Mental Health Trust discussed plans to no longer accept referrals for assessment and diagnosis of ASD in children at a board meeting this month. Children will only be referred if they have an additional mental health condition that requires treatment, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or depression.
The decision would affect children in Merton, Wandsworth, Richmond, Kingston and Sutton as they all fall under the South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust.
I had to read the article again to make sure I had read it correctly. Why would they make such a decision and come to this conclusion?
When we visited Dept of Health Senior Officials shared autism gave them the biggest headache of all disabilities. Does this mean that by not assessing children in these local authorities their problem will go away?
All the textbooks on autism clearly state early intervention is crucial without this intervention it will have a detrimental effect on the child, the family, the school, etc. The serious risk is that the child can develop mental Health issues which can debilitate them for the rest of their life.
It is questionable whether the Trust could make this decision and I would like to think that it would not be followed through. However, if they do make this decision, they should not be surprised if their neglect is met with a very STRONG reaction!
Anna Kennedy OBE