Father's fear over change to autism care provision across south west London
A dad has raised serious concerns about changes to a mental health service which provides care for his autistic daughter.
Dr Jason Clark, 45, a university lecturer and vicar, from Sutton, has been in contact with the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) since his daughter Leah was diagnosed with autism eight years ago.
Sixteen-year-old Leah has recently had an intensive input from CAMHS for everything from therapy, medication and education to depression and self harm.
However, Dr Clark is concerned that changes to the delivery of its care will have an adverse impact on those it cares for.
He has written to David Bradley the chief executive of the South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust, which runs CAMHS, in a formal complaint to express his concerns.
These include withdrawing the current autistic spectrum disorder service and replacing experts with junior nurses, increased medicalisation of children’s services and the potential for social services having to take on more work. He has also raised concerns about a lack of consultation with parents.
Dr Clark, a dad-of-three, said: "All these families with complex issues are going to have to meet with junior nurses. I will have to take my self-harming, autistic daughter to see a junior nurse who has no idea what they are doing.
"We have been involved with CAMHS for the last 10 years. I don’t know what we would have done without them. They have been invaluable for our family."
Mr Bradley replied to Dr Clark to address his concerns and said they believed some services, including those for autistic spectrum disorders, were better provided by teams of expert staff under a centralised service.
Dawn Chamberlain, Director of Operations, said: "In partnership with the local authority and Sutton clinical commissioning group, we have commenced a single point of referral which will benefit young people by improved access to services, thus reducing waiting lists for appointments and getting children and families to the right treatment as soon as possible.
"In addition, highly specialist services, such as eating disorders and ASD/ADHD diagnosis, are being improved and will continue to be provided through expert and dedicated teams in each borough including Sutton.
"South West London and St George’s is continuing to deliver the full range of CAMHS services commissioned by Sutton CCG and Sutton Council."