Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust – Statement in relation to autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) assessment waiting times | Our News

Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust – Statement in relation to autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) assessment waiting times

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The Trust is aware that waiting times for its ASD assessments have recently been reported in national media. It is important that parents of children and young people who are waiting for an ASD assessment can make an informed decision about their options for accessing an assessment. The Trust has therefore made the commitment to share monthly durations that Children and Young People are waiting to be seen by Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust’s (CWPT) ASD assessment team. By providing up to date information, families will be able to make an informed decision about how best to achieve the assessment they require, as well as and avoid unnecessary investment in alternative options.

Following significant investment and dedicated resource to review and reduce waiting times for ASD assessments, CWPT is currently contacting people within 22 weeks of receiving their referral in order to book their assessment. As of September 2023, our average wait to assessment is 41 weeks.

What might impact in your waiting time?

If you are contacted by the Neurodevelopmental Service regarding you or your child’s Autism Assessment, it’s important that you respond as soon as you can. If you are struggling to contact us by email or phone, please ask someone to contact us on your behalf.

Most assessments are conducted virtually (online). This is due to feedback that most people find it helps to have the appointment in a familiar environment, without the stress of having to go somewhere new. If you don’t have the facility for a virtual appointment (a tablet or laptop work best), please let the team know and we will facilitate a face-to-face appointment. There may be a slightly longer wait for this.

Why was the reported wait time for CWPT so much longer than the current wait time?

The data reported in the article was out of date and does not reflect our current wait times. The Trust has invested significantly in reducing its waiting lists for ASD assessments which has resulted in halving our average waiting time. It’s important to note that our average waiting time includes people who have been offered and appointment for an assessment but have taken the decision not to take up the appointment at this time. This might be to allow additional time for other reports or assessments to be undertaken or due to personal reasons. CWPT is currently contacting people within 22 weeks of referral to book their assessment.

What do parents say about CWPT’s ASD assessment process?

Below is some feedback from parents and carers:

One wrote:  “I am writing to thank you for your kindness hard work and child centred care. I understand the extreme difficulties in getting access to your team and how many children and young adults you have to support, assess and all of this within resource difficulties. I would like to say thank you for your professionalism and kindness, sometimes there is not always a magic wand or a name tag but being able to access the professionals that can give guidance is so very important.”


Another wrote:  “It was so lovely to unexpectedly receive your phone calls yesterday and again to follow up this morning; your care for the young people and families you support and indeed your diligence and passion to get everything right for the wider team you are part of shines through.  We absolutely understand the huge demands you are all under as a service, so to receive personal calls from you about arrangements and the administrative side of things was truly wonderful, and indeed your approach is really valuable, it’s often way more efficient to talk together than send emails back and forth; thank you truly, you are a lovely lady and great ambassador for your team.”


Another piece of feedback was:  “Amazing, I genuinely cannot fault them, they really took on board her needs, they were so understanding they gave her time, they were really thorough, they even came out and saw her and it was quick.”


A fourth wrote:  “It was a long time in waiting, but when it did come about it was very very good. The involvement from the Dr, she explained things very very well, she explained things to CYP very very well which was just as important if not more so, and he needed that encouragement and someone that understands him from his point of view, and that was really important for us, and getting that into writing and putting it into practice.”


Why are waiting times so long?

The Trust is working hard with its partners to reduce the wait for assessments and has invested significantly in its capacity and prioritisation of ASD assessment referrals. However, the Trust is receiving unprecedented demand for ASD Assessments, and is receiving between 350 and 500 new referrals a month. This is substantially more than national average and far higher than forecast referral rates. This increase in demand for assessments has impacted the Trust’s ability to reduce waiting times further.


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