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Plans to reduce waiting times for neuro assessments for children in Highlands welcomed by Edward Mountain

By Gordon Calder

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A NORTH MSP has welcomed plans by NHS Highland to reduce the waiting times for neurodevelopmental assessments for over 500 children.

Edward Mountain, the Conservative MSP for the Highlands and Islands, said the health authority plans to "substantially reduce the waiting list by the end of 2022."

He was speaking after a meeting with NHS Highland when it was confirmed that 562 children are waiting for NDAs, which are crucial for identifying autism, attention disorder hyperactivity disorder and a range of other issues.

Edward Mountain has welcomed the NHS Highland plan
Edward Mountain has welcomed the NHS Highland plan

Mr Mountain raised the matter throughout last year in the Scottish Parliament and in the media. A series of Freedom of Information requests submitted by the MSP highlighted that well over 10,000 are waiting for NDA assessments across Scotland.

He said: "I was pleased to meet with NHS Highland in order to raise my deep concerns about the long waiting times children are experiencing for neurodevelopmental assessments.

"Some children have been waiting over two years for an assessment and targeted actions are required urgently to improve this situation.

"I am therefore encouraged that NHS Highland are putting together a plan that should see the waiting list backlog substantially reduced by the end of this year. 2022 must be the year of action to help these children and ensure they receive the support they need.

Mr Mountain added: "I look forward to having another meeting with NHS Highland at the end of June to see what progress has been made and if they are on track to reduce the waiting list."

In September last year, the Scottish Government released new guidance on NDAs with a target that children and young people should receive their assessments within four weeks of identification of need.

The government wants to ensure children and families receive the support and access to services that meet their needs at the earliest opportunity.

It said: "For many children and young people, such support is likely to be community based, and should be quickly and easily accessible.

"Children, young people and their families will be able to access additional support, appropriate for their neurodevelopmental needs, through universal services, such as via the named person, and community based mental health and wellbeing supports and services."

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