Significant investment is being made to the local neurodiversity service as part of ongoing plans to reduce waiting times, streamline the service and improve outcomes for children, young people and their families.
Like the rest of the country, North East Lincolnshire’s Access Pathway — which includes screening and triage for specialist autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) assessments for children and young people — has seen an increased demand on services following the COVID pandemic.
Coupled with a rise in the volume of referrals, particularly for younger children, this means many young people, parents and carers are waiting longer than anticipated.
Now significant investment from the Integrated Care System will mean that we can start to tackle this.
The first focus will be on improving the assessment process so priority can be given to seeing children faster with funding for:
the recruitment of more specialists to support development of the service, and
- increasing capacity into the autism specialist assessment service.
Existing support staff from the Access Pathway will also transfer to NAViGO — recently appointed as the new provider of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, allowing for better collaboration between care teams.
Subsequent changes later in the year will see the introduction of a new streamlined referral process, strengthening ways of working with partner services.
Speaking on behalf of the partnership, Helen Kenyon, North East Lincolnshire Place Director, NHS Humber and North Yorkshire Integrated Care Board said: “We know how frustrated families have felt waiting longer for assessments than we would all like. This investment will allow us to focus on improving the assessment process so families can be seen sooner, and the outcomes for children, young people and their families in North East Lincolnshire will be improved.”
Engagement and participation with system partners, children and young people, their parents and carers, will continue to inform the service changes.
The Access Pathway informs any extra interventions or specialist assessments needed for children and young people, for example Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and ADHD.
Referrals to the Access Pathway can be made from any health, education or social care professional jointly with a child and their parent or guardian.
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