Image: Hywel Dda Health Board

CHILDREN in Ceredigion are waiting an average of over two years for an autism diagnosis from when they are first referred despite a Welsh Government target of 26 weeks, a Freedom of Information request by the Cambrian News shows.

The Cambrian News reported “The average waiting time between paediatric referral and assessment for a child in the Hywel Dda Health Board region, which covers Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire, is almost 108 weeks.

A Freedom of Information request by this newspaper shows that children diagnosed under the age of five faced an average waiting time of 25 months over the last two years, while those over the age of five waited an average of 38 months.

The data from the information request also shows that almost 20 children under the age of five were diagnosed with autism in the Hywel Dda region between November 2015 and March 2017.

Over the same period, 155 children between the ages of six and 16 were diagnosed with autism.

Hywel Dda Health Board said that the Neurodevelopmental team “only receive referrals to carry out assessments for autism from paediatricians”, with the figures provided “coming from paediatric referrals and not necessarily from the original source of referral.”

It said that the average waiting time between the assessment and final diagnosis was just under one month.

The Welsh Government, which has set a target of 26 weeks from referral to diagnosis, said the roll-out of a national integrated autism plan was continuing.

A spokesman said there were also plans to issue statutory guidance to councils and health boards requiring them to plan and deliver effective autism services” here.

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