Autism diagnosis in children and young people: Recognition, referral and diagnosis of children and young people on the autism spectrum (CG128): http://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/CG128
The guidance states, ‘Start the autism diagnostic assessment within 3 months of the referral to the autism team.’
NICE has a number of work programmes, each producing guidance with a different remit and status in the NHS. Our guidance on Autism (CG128) is a clinical guideline. Under this work programme, our role is to develop high quality guidance on the treatment of health conditions. However, although NHS organisations in England and Wales are expected to take NICE clinical guidelines into account when planning the delivery of care, they are advisory rather than regulatory and therefore there is no legal requirement for Trusts to follow the recommendations in this guidance.
The fact is that although local commissioning groups and providers are expected to take our recommendations into account, it is up to them to make sure they do so in a way which enables them to allocate their funds across all the demands made on them. If they don’t consider that a particular case fits with the recommendations we have made, then you can reasonably expect them to explain why. Otherwise, you can also expect them to be able to tell you when they anticipate being able to put our recommendations in place.
I understand how frustrating it must be to receive these unhelpful responses, but in signalling through our guidance what it the NHS should be doing, we have to recognise that not all NHS organisations are able to move at the same pace, given their other, competing priorities