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A new autism service is able to support more people and reduce waiting times for assessment to help autistic adults manage everyday challenges.

The service provides an assessment for adults concerned if they have autism and signposts to community support services to help build self-care skills, along with further specialist clinical support if needed.

Following previously long waiting times, all patients are now seen within 12 weeks with a focus on early intervention and opening up access to community, education, employment and health resources.

The service has been developed by Bradford District and Craven Health and Care Partnership – made up of local NHS organisations, local councils, independent care organisations and the voluntary and community sector – that serves a population of around 650,000 people.

One patient who has benefitted from the new autism service said: “I had two appointments with the autism service and it was good. I thought I might be autistic but it was explained to me what autism is and how I don’t have it, my mum was happy with the decision and I was pleased to have an appointment. The building was good and I got the information by post. I was also given information for my wellbeing college and family counselling, I was happy with how it was explained because I don’t have anyone to talk to about my problems.”

Autism awareness training is being provided to over 100 social prescribers working in primary care and to six wellbeing hubs. With community support now available, this will help reduce the number of physical and mental health crises experienced by adults with autism, lowering demand on acute and urgent care services.

Walter O’Neil, assistant director for contract relationships at Bradford District and Craven Health and Care Partnership, said: “Within this new service we are able to assess 600 people per year and to put this in context previously we had capacity to only assess a maximum of 40 people per year.  Reducing reliance on clinical pathways and improving links with existing community services means that adults with autism can access support for all aspects of their lives. If you are experiencing issues in everyday life you think are linked to being autistic the best thing to do is talk to your GP.”

A dedicated autism support leaflet is available providing details of local community support services.