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Publication, Part of

Autism Statistics, April 2019 to December 2021

Current Chapter

Autism Statistics, April 2019 to December 2021


Summary

These statistics present a group of measures on waiting times for autism spectrum disorder diagnostic pathways, based on the time between a referral for suspected autism and the first care contact associated with that referral.

There are also multiple breakdowns based on the progression and outcomes of those referrals.

Each of these measures contributes to an overall picture of waiting times for diagnostic pathways. The approach is outlined in the methodology section of this publication.


As of March 2022, this publication is based on a new set of Autism Measures. These new measures have been designed following a review of the statistics with NHS England and NHS Improvement. The previous forward model methodology reported all activity back to the date of the referral and did not present current waiting list information. The new measures have been designed to report the current number patients with an open referral as well as the numbers of new, open and closed referrals at different points in time. Specific data quality measures have also been produced to help providers identify where there might be issues with their data.

The intention is to review and develop these metrics for future publications.

These are experimental statistics and are published to involve users and stakeholders in their development to build in quality and reliability at an early stage.


Between January and December 2021, the number of patients with an open referral for suspect autism has increased from just over 65,000 to nearly 88,000. The number receiving a first appointment within 13 weeks has also increased in that time from 6,768 to 7,573.

New and closed referrals for suspected autism

There were 5,984 new referrals to specialist mental health services for suspected autism and 4,351 referrals were closed in December 2021.

Patients with open Referrals

In December 2021 there were 87,968 patients with an open referral for suspected Autism. This is an increase of 35% compared with January 2021.

Waiting time from referral to first care contact

Between January and December 2021, the number of patients with a referral for suspected autism receiving their first care contact within 13 weeks has been steadily rising from 6,768 in January to 7,573 in December. This is an increase of 12%.

Latest 6 Months

The latest 6 months of data for the headline measures is shown below. 
 

 

 

Jul 21 

Aug 21 

Sep 21 

Oct 21 

Nov 21 

Dec 21 

ASD12 

Number of new referrals for suspected autism in the month 

6,235 

4,563 

5,443 

5,393 

6,227 

5,984 

ASD13 

Number of referrals for suspected autism closed in the month 

3,949 

3,421 

3,478 

4,030 

4,278 

4,351 

ASD16 

Number of patients with an open referral for suspected autism 

79,390 

80,075 

82,040 

83,941 

86,204 

87,968 

ASD18 

Number of patients with an open referral for suspected autism by month in the reporting period receiving a first appointment in 13 weeks or less 

7,778 

7,668 

7,790 

7,862 

7,881 

7,573 

ASD20 

Number of patients which have an open referral in the month and at least one care contact in the month which is part of a suspected autism referral 

4,177 

3,603 

4,319 

3,330 

3,954 

3,225 

ASD21 

Number of patients with an autism referral and autism diagnosis in the month 

371 

345 

351 

344 

373 

343 

ASD22 

Number of suspected autism referrals with an autism diagnosis in the month 

377 

349 

355 

344 

373 

344 

ASD23 

Number of suspected autism referrals with a non-autism Mental and Behavioural disorder diagnosis recorded in the month 

121 

119 

129 

114 

84 

99 

ASD24 

Number of suspected autism referrals with a non-autism and non-Mental and Behavioural disorder diagnosis recorded in the month 

62 

70 

67 

43 

32 

34 

Important Notes:

A referral for suspected autism is defined as a referral where either the primary reason OR other reason for the referral is "Suspected Autism".

Both measures ASD16 and ASD18 include patients where there has been less than 13 weeks from the referral date to the end of the month. Calculating the proportion of patients with an open referral and who have received a first appointment within 13 weeks using these metrics is not comparable to metric ASD04 from previous publications because a 13 week reporting lag was incorporated into the Forward Model methodology.

 

Waiting time from referral to care contact dashboard

This tool is in Microsoft Power BI which does not fully support all accessibility needs. If you need further assistance, please contact us for help.



Last edited: 30 March 2022 2:48 pm