A new ADHD and Autism diagnostic service available in the Bailiwick of Guernsey will provide access to fast and reliable initial screening, assessment, diagnosis and treatment as well as access to speech and language therapy input.
A recent survey in the UK revealed that children with suspected neurodevelopmental conditions waited on average 16 months just for an initial screening appointment during 2022, with some having waited as long as seven years for treatment. This is in line with a huge increase in referrals, with NHS data revealing an increase of 226% between 2017 and 2022 in what has been called a crisis in child mental health.
Dr Arthur Pearce (pictured), the founder of Island Psychology Services, that now offers this new service in the Bailiwick of Guernsey, said: “The stats on waiting times in the UK are shocking. While the equivalent data is not readily available for Guernsey-based patients, I believe they are equally relevant here based on discussions I’ve had with local services.”
Dr Pearce, a highly qualified and experienced clinical psychologist, explained the importance of the new service that he provides: “The length of time a person has to wait to get a diagnosis of ADHD or Autism can have a devastating impact on not only their current life, but their future. Late diagnosis is associated with a greater risk of mental health difficulties.
“One recent study found that people diagnosed with autism in adulthood are nearly three times as likely as their childhood-diagnosed counterparts to report having a mental health condition. Diagnosis not only brings relief in the form of understanding and enlightenment, but also access to critical support and protections. While long waiting times put children and adults with ADHD or Autism at real risk of mental health difficulties.
In fact, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance, states that everyone should be seen for an assessment within 3 months of referral. But data shows that the vast majority of people 86% have been waiting longer than 13 weeks in the UK.
Dr Pearce continued: “The service we offer ensures clients in the Bailiwick of Guernsey have access to timely screening through to diagnosis, facilitating quicker access to the support they need to ensure the future management of their diagnosis is met. From initial assessment to full diagnosis, the process, at present, can take approximately 2-4 weeks but this is very much dependent on other contributing parties, such as a child’s school supporting diagnosis in a timely manner.
“I strongly believe that access to timely ADHD and Autism assessment and diagnosis is a service that the Bailiwick of Guernsey desperately needs and am delighted to be able to offer it. I look forward to providing both adults and children with access to the expert support they require locally.”