The East Berkshire NHS Clinical Commissioning Group has released a blueprint for future autism and ADHD services for children and adults in the area, drawing on the findings of a review of existing services and the challenges that they face.
The review team from healthcare consultants Attain talked to autistic people, people with ADHD and their parents/carers and organisations involved in delivering services, about their experiences of existing services and changes that that they would like to see.
Autism Berkshire was one of the organisations which contributed to the review. We encouraged anyone with an interest in autism to give their views at a series of public workshop sessions held by Attain in Bracknell, Maidenhead and Slough.
Long waiting times for assessment appointments for all age groups, for both autism and ADHD, and limited post-diagnosis support, were identified as key challenges by Attain, as was the lack of joined-up services in places and problems that this can cause when commissioning services.
Investment in efforts to reduce assessment waiting times had been focused on children, leaving adult services under-resourced. Services are not properly joined-up and, as a result, do not meet NICE guidelines.
The report identified a range of strengths in current provision, including some examples of good inter-agency and joint service working across the area and within the three unitary council areas in East Berkshire – Bracknell Forest, Slough and Windsor & Maidenhead, signs of improvements in collaboration with schools and the level of commitment of staff in the NHS, councils and the voluntary sector.
It also praised support and advice services provided by the voluntary sector, including Autism Berkshire, including home visits, workshops led by parents with lived experience of autism, and provision of these services to families while their children are on the waiting lists for assessment.
A framework and timetable for the future development of services has been drawn up, setting out a series of steps, including a single point of access to services, integrated working between the different organisations in communities across the area and developing self-help and peer support networks.
The need for close co-operation with the NHS integrated care systems covering East Berkshire and Berkshire West, along with adjacent counties, was also highlighted to ensure that changes in services and their implementation were aligned and would be implemented at the same time.
Autism Berkshire’s chief executive officer, Jane Stanford-Beale, said: “We welcome the recommendations in the report and look forward to working with the NHS and other partners to improve the support available to families in the area.
Click here for a summary of Attain’s report about existing autism and ADHD support services in East Berkshire and their recommendations for future development.
A follow-up engagement workshop to discuss the proposals will be held at Desborough Bowling Club, in Green Lane, Maidenhead, from 10.30am to 12.30pm on Tuesday, October 15. Local support service providers will have information stands at the event.
Please note that places at the workshop are limited and must be booked in advance.
Click here to book.