Posted: Tue 24th Sep 2019

Extra £3m a year for Autism services in Wales may not be enough to meet the demand

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Sep 24th, 2019

A Flintshire based Assembly Member said he is concerned an extra £3m a year for Autism services in Wales won’t enough to meet current demands on services.

Mark Isherwood AM was responding to an announcement this week by health minister Vaughan Gething that the Welsh Government with give additional funding to support autism services in Wales.

Mr Gething said the money will be used to continue to fund autism services after the initial £13m funding for the Integrated Autism Service pilots ends in 2021.

He also announced plans for a demand and capacity review ensure autism and neurodevelopmental services are sustainable in the long term.

The Minister said: “The integrated autism service is raising awareness of autism across Wales, improving access to assessment and diagnosis and putting in place additional specialist support in every region.

The money I am announcing today will ensure that our commitment to improving autism services is fulfilled in the long term.

Alongside this I am commissioning a review ensure that services are meeting people’s needs and the money is being invested where it’s needed.”

Mark Isherwood AM, the Welsh Conservative spokesperson on Autism, said:

“It still remains a disappointment that Assembly Members from Labour and the sole Lib Dem AM voted against introducing specific autism legislation in Wales, which would have helped thousands of Autistic people to ensure that they receive the support they need in a clear and timely fashion.

The strength of feeling for this Bill was felt across Wales as Autistic people, charities and parents supported the Bill.

Although the Minister refers negatively to the Autism legislation in England, it has ensured that services have a statutory underpinning.

I would urge the Minister to use the legislation to learn and enhance our options here in Wales.”

Mr Isherwood welcomed the additional £3 million a year made available to the Integrated Autism Service, he said, “it is a concern as to whether or not that funding is enough to meet the demands of the services, especially as the Welsh Government themselves highlight that there is a shortage of suitably trained specialists and that autism services are hard pressed in Wales.”

“Over the next three years the Welsh Government will be receiving an extra £1.2 billion of funding from the UK Government, following increased investment in the NHS in England and I would urge the Welsh Government to consider using some of this money to help ensure that people and families get the services they deserve in Wales.

Truly working with the people who have direct experience of Autism, Autistic people and the Autism Community, would generate smarter spending, better services and improved lives.” Added the North Wales AM. 

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