The Minister for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething has welcomed the findings of the independent evaluation of the Welsh Government’s National Integrated Autism Service (IAS).
Addressing the National Autism Conference at the Liberty Stadium today (April 3rd) in Swansea, the Health Minister said:
“The Welsh Government is continuing to invest in the development of new and innovative autism services to improve autism provision. To ensure our reforms are achieving the results we all want to see, we commissioned an independent evaluation.”
The review involved interviews and discussions with autistic adults some of whom are also parents of children with autism, and family members and carers.
The evaluation found that the Integrated Autism Service, established in Cardiff and Vale, Cwm Taf, Gwent and Powys is providing a much needed and valued service. Services in West Wales and Western Bay have now opened.
It also found that there are consistent diagnostic pathways for adults to the IAS, although further work is needed to clarify pathways to other services, such as mental health.
The evaluation also showed that the IASs have increased the capacity and quality of assessment and diagnosis services for adults. Improvements to the capacity and quality of children’s assessment and diagnosis services have been made, through the establishment of new children’s Neurodevelopmental (ND) Services.
The evaluation found that prospects for the future are encouraging, provided services can cope with demand, retain staff and secure funding for the service beyond 2021.
In September last year the review was asked to focus on investigating the reasons for continued long waiting times in children’s ND Services and the IAS. It was asked to explore the scope for greater alignment of ND services. The findings from this additional research will be published in early summer.
The Health Minister added:
“I am committed to increase the pace of autism reform. I have announced renewed funding for the National Autism team over the next 3 years.
“The review and the recommendations made will inform the development of our Code of Practice on the Delivery of Autism Services, this will strengthen and underpin the improvements we are currently delivering and will enable us to identify and address any continuing gaps in provision.”