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Hamilton announces £2m investment in autism services

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Health Minister Simon Hamilton has announced that he would be investing an additional £2m per year in Autism Services to tackle waiting lists and improve access to support services.

“Since 2010 the number of referrals for autism assessments has nearly doubled from 1,500 to 2,800 at the end of last year. Despite the hard work of many dedicated professionals, we are struggling to match pace with demand. Many children and young people are waiting more than thirteen weeks for an assessment. This is not acceptable and I am determined to get these waiting lists down.

“That is why I am today announcing increased investment of an additional £2m for Autism services across Northern Ireland. This money will fund much needed new capacity to ensure there is quicker access to diagnostic services and that, crucially, there is more support for young people and their families.”

“This new money will fund expanded teams in each Trust to improve assessment times, including clinical staff specifically trained in assessing Autism. In addition, these resources will be used to expand Autism specific support services, and improve access to wider services such as: Speech and Language Therapy, Community Paediatrics and Occupational Therapy.

“In tandem, I will continue to work with the Board and the Trusts to improve our processes and remodel our services to further drive down waiting lists and improve access to high quality services.”

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