Create an emergency fund for ASD (autism) & ADHD assessments

The Government should create an emergency fund to deal with the massive waiting lists for autism & ADHD assessments for children AND adults. This would provide resources for local health services deal with current waiting lists and new patients.

This petition closed on 30 Dec 2021 with 21,151 signatures


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Recent Documents related to Create an emergency fund for ASD (autism) & ADHD assessments

1. Create an emergency fund for ASD (autism) & ADHD assessments
24/06/2021 - Petitions

Found: The Government should create an emergency fund to deal with the massive waiting lists for autism & ADHD

2. Parental Submission 90 - written evidence
27/11/2018 - Inquiry: Special educational needs and disabilities - Education Committee
- View source

Found: of [name]):As a mother of a child age 10 with ASD, ADHD, and other significantly impactful special needs

3. Parental Submission 168 - written evidence
24/04/2019 - Inquiry: Special educational needs and disabilities - Education Committee
- View source

Found: special educational needs (SEND) and Education Health and Care Plans (EHCP), in particular. I am concerned

4. Autism – overview of UK policy and services
01/04/2019 - Parliamentary Research

Found: Number 7172 , 1 April 2019 Autism Πoverview of UK policy and services By Elizabeth Parkin Manjit Gheera;

5. Extra Strong Parents Support Group - written evidence
27/11/2018 - Inquiry: Special educational needs and disabilities - Education Committee
- View source

Found: Strong Parents, comprising of five families whose children have similar special educational needs and disabilities

Latest Documents
Recent Speeches related to Create an emergency fund for ASD (autism) & ADHD assessments

1. Mental Health Support: Young People
09/04/2019 - Commons Chamber

1: cases of young people struggling to receive mental health support in my constituency of High Peak and in - Speech Link
2: Friend agree that young people with autism who have mental health problems and their families have particular - Speech Link
3: many areas of children’s mental health where support is needed, but with ASD a diagnosis is needed as well - Speech Link

2. ADHD Diagnosis and Treatment
15/05/2018 - Westminster Hall

1: could establish an all-party parliamentary group for ADHD. Seven months later, I proudly chair that APPG, - Speech Link

3. Oral Answers to Questions
15/01/2019 - Commons Chamber

1: to boost the supply of nurses, including offering new routes into the profession and encouraging those - Speech Link
2: first-class healthcare, but the trust has seen a massive drop in applications from other EU member states - Speech Link
3: before. Does the Minister not accept that this Government have presided over a disastrous decline in morale - Speech Link

4. Autism Diagnosis
13/09/2017 - Westminster Hall

1: move,That this House has considered a waiting time standard for autism diagnosis.It is a pleasure to serve - Speech Link
2: shortage of psychologists. Does he agree that a massive recruitment drive is needed to reduce those times - Speech Link
3: of additional resources later.Autism usually first manifests itself in young children: four to five years - Speech Link

5. Health and Social Care
06/12/2021 - Lords Chamber

1: safe this winter. Today, we have published our health and social care approach to winter. This shows - Speech Link
2: face the challenge of fighting Covid-19, and the new omicron variant, along with the other challenges - Speech Link
3: treatments, and we need to adopt new, innovative ways of working so patients keep getting the best possible - Speech Link

Latest Speeches
Recent Questions related to Create an emergency fund for ASD (autism) & ADHD assessments
1. Health Services: Waiting Lists
asked by: John Redwood
09/11/2021
... when he plans to publish a detailed plan for reducing the waiting lists of NHS England including details on staffing and use of current NHS capacity.

2. Health Services: Waiting Lists
asked by: Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi
08/12/2021
... what steps his Department is taking to reduce the backlog of non-covid related care.

3. Health Services: Waiting Lists
asked by: John Redwood
09/12/2021
... how much of the funding increase for the NHS announced in the Autumn Budget and Spending Review 2021 will be spent on reducing waiting lists in the NHS in England.

4. Health Services: Waiting Lists
asked by: John Redwood
26/10/2021
... when he plans to publish further details of the steps and budgets he is introducing to reduce waiting lists for treatment in the NHS.

5. Health Services: Waiting Lists
asked by: Anne Marie Morris
22/04/2021
...885 referral to treatment patients that have been waiting more than 52 weeks to start treatment have been waiting longer than (a) 18 months and (b) two years.

Latest Questions

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The waiting lists for these assessments are massively long up & down the country. In some areas children and adults have to wait years for an assessment. This can cause great distress to those on waiting lists and their families. It's time neurodevelopment is taken seriously. The effects of late diagnosis are well documented. Children diagnosed earlier perform better in school, they are less likely to develop mental health issues later in life. Adults left to wait for such long periods are more likely to develop mental health issues. These are just a few benefits of early diagnosis.


Petition Signatures over time

Government Response

Tuesday 14th December 2021

We are investing £13 million this year to tackle long autism diagnosis waiting times and are supporting children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder throughout the diagnostic process.


The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guideline ‘Autism spectrum disorder in adults: diagnosis and management’ states people should be waiting no longer than 13 weeks between a referral for an autism assessment and a first appointment. The NICE guideline does not recommend a maximum waiting time for the whole diagnostic pathway, recognising that making a diagnosis can be complex and involve a range of different professionals and agencies.

With respect to assessments for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), the NICE guideline ‘Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Diagnosis and Management’ does not recommend a maximum waiting time between first referral and a first assessment for ADHD. However, Clinical Commissioning Groups and National Health Service trusts should have due regard to this NICE guideline, which aims to improve the diagnosis of ADHD, the quality of care and support that people receive.
We want every area to meet NICE guidance for autism assessments, but we recognise this is not happening everywhere. Anecdotal evidence suggests this is largely driven by increased demand for diagnosis services due to growing awareness and recognition of autism over the past few years.

To gain a better understanding of waiting times across the country, we started collecting and reporting data on waiting times for autism diagnosis in November 2019. The latest data from September 2021 indicates that 13% of patients who had been referred for an initial appointment got this within the 13 weeks recommended by NICE. This data is being used by NHS England and Improvement to inform their work to improve waiting times at a local level. We understand that the COVID-19 pandemic may have also made waiting times longer in some areas, because some local systems paused or delayed their diagnosis assessments.

To tackle long waiting times for autism assessments, we are already taking a number of actions as set out in our new national autism strategy, ‘The national strategy for autistic children, young people and adults: 2021 to 2026’. As part of the NHS Long Term Plan, we are investing £2.5 million in 2021-2022 to test and implement the most effective ways to reduce autism diagnosis waiting times for children and young people, in England.

In recognition of the impact of the pandemic, as part of the COVID-19 Mental Health and Wellbeing Recovery Action Plan we are also investing an extra £10.5 million in 2021 – 2022 to test ways of improving diagnostic pathways and to identify those on waiting lists at risk of crisis. The funding we are investing this year will help us develop a better understanding of which diagnostic pathways work and reduce the amount of time people have to wait for their assessment, with the aim of improving pathways across the country. We are also significantly expanding an early identification pilot, based in Bradford, which involves health and education staff working together in schools to assess children who are suspected to be autistic. Over the next 3 years, we will be expanding this to at least 100 schools.

With regard to ADHD, the NICE guideline sets out a number of recommendations regarding the organisation of child health services, child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) and adult mental health services to support children with ADHD. As part of the NHS Long Term Plan, together with Local Authority children’s social care and education services as well as expert charities, NHS England and Improvement will jointly develop packages to support autistic children and children with ADHD and their families throughout the diagnostic process.

Given the extra funding we are providing this year to address long waiting times, we do not consider that a separate emergency fund for autism and ADHD assessments is needed at this time. Our assessment is that the best way to tackle long waiting times is by improving data and reporting and by increasing investment into existing streams of core funding for the NHS, rather than creating a separate fund. This is because we want local systems to have a full understanding of the extent of waiting times and full ownership over action to address waiting lists.

Department of Health and Social Care


Constituency Data

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