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Autism Berkshire welcomes NHS mental health services transformation plan

Autism Berkshire welcomes the Government’s plan to expand NHS mental health services and to create 21,000 new jobs over the next few years, including 2,000 more nurses, consultants and therapists for CAMHS teams.

The announcement by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt that £1.3 billion would be invested to provide the extra staff and to retain existing NHS mental health workers followed a pledge at the start of the year by Prime Minister and Maidenhead MP Theresa May to “tackle the burning injustice of mental illness”.

Autism Berkshire’s chief executive officer, Jane Stanford-Beale, said: “We hope that this announcement will translate into reduced waiting times for autism diagnosis in Berkshire and elsewhere in the country.

“The long waiting list is a major issue in Berkshire. We appreciate that Berkshire CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) staff are working hard to improve services for children, young people and their families, but we want the Government to ensure that the additional resources promised to support them will be ring-fenced and will not be diverted to meet other urgent needs in the NHS.

“Alongside speeded-up autism diagnosis by CAMHS, we want to see an improvement in mental health support for people of all ages living with autism as a result of the Government’s announcement.

“Adults also have to wait a long time for autism assessments in Berkshire and many people living with autism face complex mental health issues, including anxiety and depression, and need support from the NHS in both short-term crisis situations and for the long term.”

  • As part of Autism Berkshire’s programme of free workshops for parents and carers of children and young people with autism, we are running sessions focusing on mental health in teenagers this autumn, led by specialists from the Centre for Autism at the University of Reading.

Places are available at sessions in Wokingham on Monday, October 2, and Thatcham on Wednesday, November 8. A workshop in Reading on Saturday, November 11, is fully booked but we are operating a waiting list and will release more tickets for it if any bookings are cancelled.

Click here for full details and to register for these workshops and our other courses for parents and carers.

Please note that due to NHS funding arrangements, we are only able to offer places at the workshops on mental health to residents of the Reading, Wokingham and West Berkshire council areas.