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Published: 2 December 2022

Working hard to reduce waiting times for children who need our Community Paediatric Service

Listen: Our Head of Service Pippa White explains what we are doing to assess children sooner.

We are working hard to see children who need our Community Paediatrics Service faster and reduce our waiting times for assessment.

You may have seen the coverage from the Ofsted and Care Quality Commission inspection into care provided to children with special education needs (SEND) across the county and we know we all – Kent County Council, NHS Kent and Medway, local schools and settings – want to do better for the children and families.

KCHFT’s Community Paediatric Services provides assessments for children with a range of conditions, in West Kent, Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley.

Like the rest of the country, waiting times for some of our services have increased due to the Covid-19 pandemic, increasing referral rates and a shortage of speech and language therapists. In particular, the wait for an autism spectrum disorder assessment is now between 36 to 42 months for those children who need a joint assessment.

The reasons for the long waits are no consolation for the children or their families and we would like to apologise wholeheartedly to everyone affected. Our waiting lists were recently reviewed and we wanted to be honest and share this with families, so everyone knows what to expect.

What we are doing

We are focused on doing everything we can to see children faster. We have bolstered teams with support, providing 30 extra assessments a month and have recruited a specialist teacher and educational psychologists, are piloting innovations such as rapid diagnosis and providing extra support to signpost children and their families.

Support for you

Listen: Community paediatrician Olufolkemi Durowoju talks about what you can do to support your child while you are waiting for an assessment.

Please be reassured, you don’t have to wait for a diagnosis to access the majority of help available, visit our dedicate therapy website, the Pod –