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Restrictive Crisis Criteria for Autism Assessments Removed After Legal Challenge

A parent who made a legal challenge against Sirona CIC and the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Integrated Care Board (ICB), has revealed that a complete backtrack has been made on autism assessments crisis criteria.

Led by campaign group Assess for Autism, a legal challenge was made by Rook Irwin Sweeney, against restrictive criteria for autism assessments in the ICB area from March 2023.

Assess for Autism has announced today that the result of this is that the assessment criteria will revert back to how it was before the recent changes. All children and young people on the waiting list will now be triaged against the criteria from before March. And, all referrals made since the start of 01 March will now be reconsidered.

BNSSG ICB and Sirona Care & Health made a joint statement regarding the u-turn on the crisis criteria saying: “We are grateful to all the parents, carers and local councillors who have shared their views regarding the recent changes to the local autism assessment referral criteria. We have always been committed to learning from young people and their families, and revising our approach if necessary, and we are sorry for any additional anxiety caused by the changes.

“Since the changes were introduced, we have also seen several further developments of direct relevance to our approach including publication of the National Framework for Autism Assessment Services and local agreement of £1m in funding to continue a waiting list initiative for autism assessments.

“Considering these developments and the feedback received, we have agreed with our partners that we will revert to the previous assessment criteria, while continuing to triage all referrals based on clinical need and vulnerability as we have always done. We will now work closely with local parents, carers and partners to develop a sustainable approach to meeting the needs of children with neurodiversity.

“We will be contacting the parents and carers of children who have been referred since 1 March to notify them of the revised approach.”

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