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Waiting List Times: Non-consultant Led Services

Volume 709: debated on Tuesday 1 March 2022

15. If he will make an assessment of the potential merits of requiring mandatory reporting of waiting list times for non-consultant led services in NHS mental health trusts. (905788)

NHS England and NHS Improvement have been field testing waiting time standards across 35 different local pilot initiatives. Through that clinically led review, we hope to understand the merits of introducing them. NHS England and NHS Improvement published the outcome of a consultation on those standards on 22 February, just over a week ago. We will work with them now on the next steps for the proposed measures.

I am very interested in what the Minister says, and I would be really interested to see the review, but in Rotherham the waiting time for children’s neurodevelopmental assessments is 200 weeks. That is almost four years of a young life. Consultant led NHS services are required to report waiting times against the 18 and 52 week standard, but neurodevelopmental assessments having no such requirements means that the political will is not there to challenge. Will the Minister please look into putting the resources necessary into children’s mental health so that no child, wherever they are, goes without that support?

I thank the hon. Lady for her question. She raises an incredibly important point. As a Government, we are determined to tackle long autism diagnosis waiting times. We are investing £2.5 million as part of the NHS long-term plan to test and implement the most effective ways to reduce autism diagnosis waiting times for children and young people across England. That is vital, because we know that the earlier children get the support, the better the outcomes are for them. We are absolutely determined to work on this, but the diagnosis pathways are sometimes quite complex.