Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has committed to looking at whether to introduce a target for autism diagnosis waiting times across the NHS in England.

Jeremy Hunt

This follows the Government’s recent commitment to start recording and publishing diagnosis waiting times – key wins of our Autism Diagnosis Crisis campaign.

The Health Secretary was responding to questions from MPs in Parliament at a meeting of the Health Select Committee. Dr Paul Williams MP asked Jeremy Hunt how long people should be waiting for a diagnosis and whether a waiting times target could be introduced.

Mr Hunt said that nobody should be waiting longer than the time set out by guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). He then agreed to look further at the idea of a target, as has been introduced for other conditions.

NICE advises that the time between referral for a diagnosis and first appointment should be no longer than three months. Dr Williams said that some children and young people in his area were waiting more than four years.

Dr Williams has been campaigning on autism diagnosis and recently rallied a group of over 140 MPs to write to Jeremy Hunt to ask for a waiting times target to be introduced.

This activity has continued the action set out by our Autism Diagnosis Crisis campaign, which our charity launched in August 2015. It called on Government and NHS England to take action on diagnosis waiting times. Almost 12,000 of you signed our letter to the Health Secretary and the Chief Executive of NHS England.

We will continue to work with MPs to put pressure on the Government to introduce a target on this to make sure that waiting times are reduced. We will update you when we have news on any new developments.

We also know that diagnosis is not the end and we will also continue to campaign to make sure there is the right support post-diagnosis.

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