Commenting on the Welsh Government Health Minister’s statement on ‘improvements in autism services”, Welsh Conservative spokesperson on Autism, Mark Isherwood AM, said:
“It still remains a disappointment that Assembly Members from Labour and the sole Lib Dem AM voted against introducing specific autism legislation in Wales, which would have helped thousands of Autistic people to ensure that they receive the support they need in a clear and timely fashion. The strength of feeling for this Bill was felt across Wales as Autistic people, charities and parents supported the Bill. Although the Minister refers negatively to the Autism legislation in England, it has ensured that services have a statutory underpinning. I would urge the Minister to use the legislation to learn and enhance our options here in Wales.
“Although it is welcome that the Minister has made £3 million a year available to the Integrated Autism Service, it is a concern as to whether or not that funding is enough to meet the demands of the services, especially as the Welsh Government themselves highlight that there is a shortage of suitably trained specialists and that autism services are hard pressed in Wales.
“Over the next three years the Welsh Government will be receiving an extra £1.2 billion of funding from the UK Government, following increased investment in the NHS in England and I would urge the Welsh Government to consider using some of this money to help ensure that people and families get the services they deserve in Wales. Truly working with the people who have direct experience of Autism, Autistic people and the Autism Community, would generate smarter spending, better services and improved lives.”
Commenting on the announcement, Joel Williams, Prospective Assembly Member for Cardiff North echoed the views of Mark Isherwood AM; "Education is one of my four priorities here in Cardiff North and like my colleagues, I too was disappointed that Labour blocked plans for the Autism Bill- which would have helped thousands of Autistic people to ensure that they receive the support they need in a prompt and strategic way."