Portsmouth family say they are at their wits’ end after autistic boy has to wait a year to be seen

A FAMILY have said they are at their ‘wits end’ after having to wait more than a year for him to be assessed for autism.

Tuesday, 2nd April 2019, 1:02 pm
Updated Tuesday, 2nd April 2019, 1:06 pm
The child's family say they are at their wits' end Picture posed by models

The family from Buckland, who cannot be named for legal reasons, have been told they must wait until August for their 11-year-old to be looked at – despite his behaviour ‘spiralling out of control’.

But despite telling Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) that the ‘intelligent’ boy’s increasingly troublesome behaviour has become too much for them to manage, they feel they have been hung out to dry.

The family were told last August they would have to wait a full 12 months for him to be seen.

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But they say that could be too late. A family member said: ‘We are really worried about this. his behaviour is getting worse. He steals and does things that are totally out of character that he does not know he is doing. He just looks vacant.

‘We have tried contacting CAMHS but they just fob us of and say we will have to wait until the assessment in August after we first went to them a year before. But things are just horrendous now. They give support to the family and his siblings but not to him.

‘He needs to be seen as soon as possible before something bad happens. Who would be responsible then? We are at our wits end. It is too long to wait a year. I’m sure other people in the same situation would feel the same.’

The family member added: ‘He started having problems when he went to secondary school. He is a very intelligent boy. He was in the top 10 in the country for his SATS.’

Richard Brown, operations director of Solent NHS children’s services in Portsmouth, said: ‘In the interest of patient confidentiality, we are unable to share information relating to individual patients.

‘Currently, the average wait time for first assessments following referral is between five and seven weeks.

‘Following this initial assessment, a further specialist assessment may be required depending on the needs of the young person. In line with the national trend, currently the wait time between referral and treatment is longer than we would like.

‘We are working with our commissioners and partners, across the city, to improve this. We are taking steps to reduce the wait times for assessment and will be offering an increased number of appointments from May 2019 onwards.

‘Safety of children and young people is paramount. If a child, who has been referred to the service, needs urgent help they can contact our children’s and adolescent mental health team.

‘Professionals within the team can make a specialist assessment over the phone and will arrange a same day appointment if required.’

People should call 0300 1236632 during working hours or for out of hours/emergencies they should call (023) 9289 4419.