Campaigns. It is important that I continue to know the strength of feeling on an issue and I prefer to respond to every inquiry, but the sheer size of campaign correspondence means that it is hard to justify to the tax payer the cost and time taken for individual written replies, so regrettably I will no longer reply to every item of campaign correspondence.  I will  post a response to the campaign on the "Responses to campaigns" page of my website.

I am sorry to do this, as it is rather impersonal, but can see no other way of maintaining a good service for all my constituents unless I approach campaigns this way.


23 MAR 2018

Autism

Thank you for taking the time to email me about autism awareness.

I know the delays in the diagnosis of autism can cause unnecessary distress and I hope the following information on this topic from the Department of Health and Social Care is of interest:

To help standardise and improve the diagnosis and management of autism, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has published three clinical guidelines and a quality standard on autism. The guidelines recommend that there should be a maximum of three months between a referral and a first appointment for an assessment for autism. NICE expects these guidelines to be fully observed by commissioners as they design services to meet the needs of their local populations.
Early-years providers must have arrangements in place to identify children with special educational needs, including autism. In addition when a child is aged between two and three, early years practitioners must provide parents with a written summary of their child's development, focusing on communication and language, physical development and personal, social and emotional development.
The reforms to the special educational needs and disabilities system that came into effect in September 2014 have transformed the support available to children and young people with autism, by joining up services across education, health and social care. The Care Quality Commission and Ofsted are currently undertaking a five year rolling programme of local inspections of how well local areas support people with special educational needs, helping local commissioners to take appropriate action.
Local authorities and clinical commissioning groups should work together to commission services for children with special educational needs, including autism. This should include publishing a 'Local Offer' of services. More widely, the 2014 cross-government autism guidelines for health commissioners encourage the development of autism strategies for meeting the needs of adults with autism in their local population.

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