There has been a huge surge in the number of Google searches for private autism assessments in the UK, according to a new analysis by Brain in Hand.
In the last three months alone, there has been a staggering 900% increase in searches related to private autism and ADHD assessment in the UK.
Furthermore, there has been an average of 5,000 searches per month for ‘private autism assessment’, and a 5000% increase in searches for terms such as ‘high functioning autism’ and ‘stimming’ in the last quarter.
Some people have been waiting two years for autism assessments
This new data highlights the escalating demand for autism assessment, with roughly 140,000 people currently waiting for an assessment on the NHS.
While NICE guidance states that no one should wait longer than three months for an assessment following a referral, data shows that the vast majority of people (86%) have been waiting longer than 13 weeks, and some have been waiting longer than two years.
Brain in Hand says this research paints a concerning picture, particularly as some local health and care partnerships are removing access to autism and ADHD assessment for adults due to the lack of resources.
With the number of people waiting for an autism assessment expected to reach 190,000 by 2024, Brain in Hand is now urgently calling for “transformative change”.
The digital innovation healthcare company says the growing backlog of autism assessments is “a symptom of a broken system” and digital solutions will be needed to reduce pressure on NHS services.
Dr Louise Morpeth, CEO at Brain in Hand said: “It’s impossible to hear so many stories about people’s lives and not feel incredibly motivated to try to make things better.
“Our mission is to improve autism support and improve the lives of autistic individuals and those living with neurological differences or mental health difficulties.
“Record wait times for diagnosis and the soaring demand for private assessments underscore the need for immediate action.
“We believe that a transformative change is essential to revolutionise access to services, and digital solutions like Brain in Hand can play a crucial role in changing the way that support is accessed, in turn, helping to ensure better outcomes.”