A Freedom Of Information Request to Greater Manchester Mental Heath Trust (GMMHT) about the current waiting times for adults who have requested an Autism Assessment has revealed that in the City of Manchester over 600 people are currently on the waiting list, yet only 30 assessments are carried out a year.
Potentially then there are 1000’s of adults are waiting for an assessment across Greater Manchester.
Under current arrangements you could wait for 20 years before being assessed. NHS guidelines say waiting lists should be no longer than 12 weeks.
The Trust says it is going reduce the “longest waits” by 31st March 2022. Although this is conditional, as their ability to do so will be dependent on “procuring capacity” from the independent sector.
A CHARM supporter from Manchester told us:
“I live in Manchester and I have been on the waiting list for an autism assessment for over two years. I rang the service , they were very kind, but they could not tell when I might get my assessment, only that it could be another year or more. That would mean at least three years.
I felt very let down and confused. I know NHS waiting lists should be no longer than 12 weeks for physical health care issues, and this seemed ridiculous. Faced with this impasse I wrote to my MP.
Shortly after I was contacted by the service who offered to put me at the top of the list as an urgent case (if there were safeguarding issues), I refused as I thought this was like jumping the queue. I also received another phone call from the service asking if I wanted to remain on the list. Why would they even ask this? Was this a way to try for GMMH to bring the waiting list numbers down?
I read the MAKING GREATER MANCHESTER AUTISM FRIENDLY (2019-2022) strategy introduced by Andy Burnham. It says Greater Manchester will be a place
“where you can get a timely diagnosis with support, meet professionals with a good understanding of autism, find services, organisations and employers that make reasonable adjustments when required, where people can feel safe, have aspirations and fulfil their potential, and become a full member of the local community“
Making people wait so long for an assessment doesn’t feel very friendly to me. “
Here are some of the information they provided:
See the full response below:
RE: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 – INFORMATION REQUEST Regarding significant backlog in accessing autism assessments for adults from Manchester