Scottish Liberal Democrats reveal longest waits for autism and neurodevelopmental diagnoses

2 Apr 2024
ACH in Holyrood

Marking World Autism Awareness Day on Tuesday 2nd April, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has criticised the SNP government for abandoning both parents and children as he revealed the longest waits for autism and neurodevelopmental diagnoses across Scotland, including a shocking four-and-a-half year wait in NHS Ayrshire & Arran.

Figures uncovered by Scottish Liberal Democrats through freedom of information requests reveal:

  • The longest wait for a neurodevelopmental diagnosis was 1,518 days (or 4 years and 1 month) in NHS Ayrshire and Arran.
  • Of the health boards who responded to a question for the longest waits for an autism diagnosis, NHS Ayrshire and Arran recorded the longest waiting time at 1,293 days.
  • There was a 1,323 day wait for neurodevelopmental diagnosis in NHS Tayside, and a 315 day for an autism diagnosis in NHS Fife.
  • For an autism diagnosis, NHS Orkney reported an average wait of more than a year, while NHS Western Isles and NHS Fife both reported an average wait of five months or more.

Mr Cole-Hamilton said:

“For parents and children waiting on a diagnosis to open the door to support services, these revelations will be depressingly familiar.

“These inordinate waits can be particularly harmful for children with autism and neurodevelopmental concerns. It only delays a diagnosis that will be key to making sure they get the help they need in other aspects of their lives.  

“Scottish Liberal Democrats have repeatedly called for better support, and now it’s time for the Scottish Health Secretary to listen and act to ensure that all those waiting get the help they need.”