Over 600 adults in the City of Manchester waiting for an Autism Assessment

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:

Note: We have been told that some Manchester GP’s have stopped making referrals for assessments because the waiting list is so long. Further we heard that to bring down the numbers on the waiting list GMMHT contacted people on the list asking them of they wanted to stay on it. We wonder waht the figure was before this exercise took place?
Do the maths: if there are over 600 people on the waiting list how can the average waiting time be 1266 days?
Why can Bolton do so much better than Manchester? – is this a question for the commissioners? Is this post code discrimination?
Why no MANCHESTER City based service? Services are supposed to be place based and as local as possible. How much investment hAve they made?
THIS IS NOT A REASSURING ANSWER – IT DEPENDS ON THE CAPACITY OF THE PURCHASED SERVICE – AN ASPIRATION IS NOT ENOUGH
AND THEN …. IF YOU ARE LUCKY AND YOU HAVE ASSESSMENT THERE ARE NO SUPPORT SERVICES FOR ADULTS IN MANCHESTER SUCH AS THEY HAVE IN BOLTON AND WE CANT ACCESS THIS SERVICE

See the full response below:

RE: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 – INFORMATION REQUEST  Regarding significant backlog in accessing autism assessments for adults from Manchester 

Published by CHARM Greater Manchester

CHARM, the Community for Holistic, Accessible, Rights Based Mental Health was launched by The Organic Recovery Learning Community in September 2020.

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