Hundreds sign petition launched by Stafford mums calling for autism service to continue

Hundreds of people have signed a petition calling for an autism service to continue to support families across part of Staffordshire.

Midlands Psychology, which provides services in the Stafford and Surrounds, South East Staffordshire and Seisdon Peninsula, Cannock Chase and East Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group areas, has been told their contract will end this month.

The CCGs say interim providers are to be appointed this week, to take over services in October.

The decision comes despite a report from the Care Quality Commissioner, published just yesterday (10 September), rating the service as good overall, as well as in all five key areas of whether it is safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led.

It follows an inspection at the end of July. 

Mum of two children with full diagnoses, Roxanne Redford from Stafford, started the petition calling on CCG bosses to rethink their decision to cancel the Midlands Psychology contract.

It states families have been left 'in distress' with mid assessments and no workshops.

Midlands Psychology's office The Hayes on Newport Road in Stafford (Google Street View)

Roxanne says she does not know where she would be without the care and service from Midlands Psychology, and the support group Au-sums which is helps fund.

She told Signal News: "We will have no where to go.

"It will impact the schools massively because they will not know who to refer to.

"GPs and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services will become overrun.

"Parents will have nowhere to turn, and it will have an impact on their mental health, as well as that of their children."

Another mum who is backing the campaign to reinstate Midlands Psychology, Danielle Ayre, says the fact it has come out of the blue has been difficult to cope with.

She said: "When it comes to autism, as most parents and carers will understand, we need to know what is going on.

"We need to have clear instructions, we need to know exactly who is looking after our children's mental health." 

A CCG spokesperson said: "We are aware there are still some concerns with parents about the provision of autism services in south Staffordshire.

"To clarify the situation, if a child or young person has been newly referred into the service and has not yet started the assessment process, NICE guidance states that they should commence assessment within 12 weeks from the initial referral date. As the current contract will end on 30th September 2019, these assessments will be provided by the interim provider(s).

"If a child or young person has started the assessment process, Midlands Psychology will complete all assessments they are able to up until 30th September. Under the terms of the current contract, Midlands Psychology are responsible for all medication and prescribing provision for children and young people already within the service until the contract ends on 30 September 2019.

"The CCGs are in discussions with local NHS providers about delivering autism services from 1st October 2019 and we will be able to confirm details on Friday 13 September 2019.

"There are a number of NHS providers able to deliver autism services for children and young people for south Staffordshire CCGs from 1st October 2019.

"The CCGs are continuing to work with Midlands Psychology to ensure continuity of care as our priority is to provide safe and effective services for children and young people and their families.”

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