Takeover means temporary rescue of Staffordshire autism service
A vital autism service has been thrown a temporary lifeline after fears it would have to shut down, with families in need having nowhere to go.
Earlier this month parents were told that Midlands Psychology, based in Stafford, would be unable to provide any services after it was informed by Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in late August that it would need to be able to hand over provision on September 30.
Hundreds of people spoke out against the move, fearing there would be no more support for families with autistic children and adults.
An online petition was launched to “Save Midlands Psychology”, which had received more than 1,500 signatures in a matter of days.
However, this week, parents breathed a sigh of relief after Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (MPFT) announced it would become the interim host provider for autism services across the area,
The Trust will take responsibility from Tuesday, October 1 and will be working with Midlands Psychology to ensure as smooth a transition as possible for patients, carers and their families.
Claire Bailey, managing director of children and families care group at Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said: “As the provider of NHS mental health services across south Staffordshire we are pleased to be announced as the lead provider of the autism service to children and young people on an interim basis.
“The continuation of high-quality care and support for children, young people and families who receive autism services is our main priority. We are now working closely with the CCGs and will work closely with the current provider to ensure that an effective transition is carried out.”
The petition, launched by Roxanne Redford, had stated: "This is leaving families in distress with mid assessments and no workshops.
"Alongside this service Midlands Psychology provide funding for AU-SUMS, which supports those currently experiencing problems and not attending school. The group was set up to meet a need for those children who are left with no provision and for the families that become isolated, lonely and often depressed.
“Midlands Psychology has been a blessing to myself and my children for 1:1 appointments, support and therapy. I have two children with full diagnoses and I don’t know where I’d be without the care and service from Midlands Psychology and the group Au-sums.
"I just want to stress how much sadness there is that the service of Midlands Psychology has ended, when it has helped thousands of families. Families need this, it’s local to us, the children recognise the building and familiar surroundings and relaxed atmosphere which makes a big difference to these children.
"Going to a new building with new people can cause so much disruption and anxiety to an autistic child with the fear of new surroundings and people that it can set them back on the progress that the current service has helped so much to advance.”
Midlands Psychology provides support to families living in the Stafford and Surrounds, South East Staffordshire and Seisdon Peninsula, Cannock Chase and East Staffordshire CCG areas.