Over the weekend, there were a lot of news reports about proposals in South West London to change which children would be eligible for an autism diagnostic assessment. It would have meant that only children who also have a mental health condition, like depression, would be referred for a diagnosis of autism.

The National Autistic Society, along with many other local charities and National Autistic Society branches who contacted us, were very concerned about this proposal. Our Chief Executive, Mark Lever, wrote to NHS decision makers in the area (the Clinical Commissioning Groups, or CCGs) to tell them our concerns and to ask them to reconsider their proposal.

We have now spoken to the CCGs. We told them just how concerned parents and autistic people in the area (and across the country) were and how important getting an autism diagnosis is.

The CCGs have reiterated that they have agreed ongoing arrangements for the diagnostic service that currently exists, for 12 more months to make sure that waiting times do not grow further.

During those 12 months, they want to look at how the service should be redesigned. Importantly, they told us that services would be available for children from across the autism spectrum – so no child will be denied access to the care they need. This is very welcome news.

They also said that they will talk to local autism groups, autistic people and their families, alongside The National Autistic Society, about what the future diagnostic service should look like. They will be able to say more about this process in the next few months. Our charity will keep you up-to-date with what is happening, so that if you live in the area you can get involved.

We are very pleased that the proposals that had been discussed are not going ahead. We hope that by working with our charity, local groups, families and autistic people the new service will work for children and young people on the autism spectrum in South West London.