"Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis at the CAMHS ASD SERVICE at BoatHouse, Festival Park, Stoke On Trent. NHS "

About: North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust / Child and adolescent mental health

(as a parent/guardian),

I had an appointment with CAMHS-ASD service at The Boat House.

After my first meeting I felt that I would be listened to and that my child would have a full ASD assessment.

After collecting information from myself, school and others who were involved with my child, I was expecting a full assessment to take place. After the first appointment, they asked me to return with my child for a 2nd appointment where my child was taken in another room where they assessed him within 40 minutes. They then called me into the room to tell me that my child was not on the ASD spectrum and that we were discharged. There was no time for me to talk about the results as they were running late. I was also told that 'we still see children up to the age of 18 years and that I could get another referral back into to the ASD service in the future.' They had just told me that my child wasn't ASD and then they say that!?

How confusing! I feel that my child is on the ASD spectrum and the Boat House have said that there are traits. The behaviours that my child displays have been displayed since around toddler age and my child will soon be entering High School. Therefore this problem is not going to disappear.

My child has been referred to this service before and we had the same response.

I do not feel that the service has done enough for my child. The observations should be more frequent instead of just one school observation. They did not see my child at home and they spent only 40 minutes in clinic with him.

I feel that I am left to cope with the problem on our own with no understanding of why my child has ASD traits or how to deal with the way that my child sees the world.

We are left to feel like bad parents who cannot deal with their child who frequently has bad traumatic outbursts and usually obsessions.

We will be using more of the NHS's money by going back through the service again and again instead of having a diagnosis. If there was an ASD diagnosis, then we can get support from other services and charities who will help us to understand our child. There are groups that we can join that are for parents and children.

My child has very poor self esteem. Myself, I feel that I'm not a good parent and I've also lost confidence in myself and the service.

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Response from North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust

Firstly can I thank you for taking the time to tell us about your experiences. As a service we are committed to offering specialist assessments for ASD and therefore it is always disappointing to hear that parents are not happy with the service that we deliver. We work within the context of increasing pressure in relation to demand for assessments and finite resources. Clinicians provide the best clinical opinion on diagnosis following assessment and are always willing to explain the outcome of any assessment and to assist further wherever we can.

We routinely write to parents to obtain feedback about the service that they receive and discuss feedback in our business meetings. As an action from this posting we are discussing your comments at our team meeting this week and with our service line manager at the next available opportunity.

We would like to take this opportunity to invite you to come and talk through your concerns and would be grateful if you could contact the team to arrange this.

Kind regards

Jennifer Lonsdale

Consultant Clinical Psychologist


Telephone: 01782 408374

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Update posted by worried mummy (a parent/guardian)

Hi I would like to know the outcome of the team meeting please and also the comments of the service line manger too please.

I would like to discuss the finding with you, but at the moment myself and my child are suffering from stress and my confidence is very low.

I am getting support from our GP, but I feel that we are wasting their valuable time as we should have been supported by your service.

Please provide the e mail address I can contact you directly on. I am happy to contact you by e mail but I don't feel ready for a face to face appointment at the moment. Sorry