An innovative approach to tackling long waiting lists for autism assessments has been introduced by Sirona care & health.
The not-for-profit organisation responsible for Children’s Services across Bristol and South Gloucestershire has joined forces with Healios, a UK digital healthcare company, to ensure more families have the option to be seen quickly with a new pilot scheme.
It means more young people and their parents will be offered online autism diagnostic assessments with clinicians. The pilot is focussing on 12-18 year olds living in South Gloucestershire who are on the ASAT (Autism Spectrum Assessment Team) waiting list which currently has a wait of around 20 months from referral.
Those who prefer a face-to-face assessment will remain on the ASAT waiting list and be seen by members of the Autism Assessment Team provided by the Community Children’s Health Partnership which is led by Sirona.
The pilot will be reviewed at the end of March with the views of children, young people and their families shared with parent carer organisations and commissioners to inform future planning.
Helena Fenton from the Autism Spectrum Assessment Team said: “This is a great step forward for our service provision across South Gloucestershire. Working with Healios means we reduce our waiting times for autism assessments and offer families more flexibility in how they receive their care. I am delighted to be working with the team at Healios and look forward to making this a success.”
Mike Catton, Chief Operating Officer at Healios said, “We’re delighted to partner with Sirona care & health and bring our online autism assessments to children, young people and their families in South Gloucestershire. People can experience how our online assessment works and benefit from quicker access to high quality care, this is what makes Healios different.”
The online approach means a parent/carer and their child can use a secure online platform to interact with a clinician, take part in interactive tasks and questionnaires all from the comfort of their home. It is used by NHS teams across the country and Sirona will be loaning families iPads if they do not have their own to ensure all those who are eligible is able to have access.
For more information, visit www.healios.org.uk/neurodevelopment.