Autism Assessments – Temporary Suspension

News - 04 March 2024

Healthwatch Wirral have been advised that from 1st March 2024, CWP will be temporarily suspending acceptance of new referrals for autism assessments across Cheshire and Wirral. This is as a result of demand for assessments significantly exceeding commissioned capacity, resulting in high numbers of people waiting and lengthy waiting times for assessment.

CWP have sent the below information.

We continue to assess people already referred and on the waiting list as well as our developing post-diagnostic offer and are working on developing a waiting well offer. We encourage individuals seeking a referral to speak to their GP regarding an assessment and their right to choose an alternative provider. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Why are referrals not being added to the waiting list at the moment?

The volume of referrals for assessment for people in Cheshire and Wirral is significantly higher than the capacity commissioned by the Cheshire and Mersey Integrated Care Board (ICB). Increasing numbers of people are experiencing a very long wait (often more than 2 years) to access their assessment appointment. We are working in partnership with colleagues in the local ICB (which is responsible for planning and purchasing local health services), to increase the capacity of the service and enhance support available in the community.

When will referrals re-open and what happens then?

Cheshire and Merseyside ICB will advise GPs when the wait list for adult autism services re-opens. At that point, your GP will need to make a new referral so that you can access the service. In the meantime, you can discuss your Right to Choose to get an assessment via another provider.

I need help and support now – what support is available?

There are a range of on-line resources which you can access at our website: https://www.cwp.nhs.uk/getting-help/autism-hub

If you are experiencing poor mental health, you can seek further support from your GP who will be able to make a referral to mental health services.

If you feel that you need urgent support, you can contact the CWP mental health helpline by calling 0800 145 6485. This line is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – please do call us if you need support. 

We apologise for any inconvenience and distress that this may cause. Please do consider the alternative options open to you and use them to access support.