See also Autism Provision by NHS Primary Care Trust 2012.


Dear Sarah McCulloch,


Freedom of Information Request                         Reference:  FOI-186-12


I am writing to confirm that we have now completed the search for the information you requested.  Please find below your request and our response to your submitted enquiry:


Your request:

1.       How many adults you have with a diagnosis of autistic spectrum disorder (any, although if there are separate statistics for Asperger’s, HFA, LFA, they would be appreciated) in your area?


Unfortunately there is no database to collect information on the number of adults with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in Sheffield. Therefore, we cannot provide definitive total numbers. National prevalence statistics suggest that there are 6,600 people with ASD in Sheffield, including adults with learning disability. However, it is important to note that there is work on-going through the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment to identify the population, as part of the response to the Autism Act and Strategy.



2.       How many children?


NHS Sheffield does not hold this information. The diagnostic register for Children is held by Sheffield Children’s Hospital Foundation Trust (SCHFT). Should you wish to redirect your request to SCHFT you can contact their Freedom of Information team via the following:



3a. What diagnostic services are available to adults?


There is no formal diagnostic service for adults with ASD that is commissioned for Sheffield residents. Some adults do get a diagnosis by having come into contact with mental health services. However, this is not a consistent defined pathway currently, and is only where ASD is part of a secondary diagnosis for an existing mental health condition. For adults with ASD and Learning Disability, there is a diagnostic service as part of the Community Learning Disability Teams (CLDT), and a multidisciplinary Autism Practice Development Group, which manages the diagnosis and treatment of this population. Please note, as part of the response to the Autism Act, there are plans progressing around the development of a business case for investment in a diagnostic pathway and Autism service.



3b. What diagnostic services are available to children?


There is a multi-disciplinary diagnostic service for children.



4.       What agencies or teams you have that work with autistic people, provide support/services, strategize, etc?


As stated above, there is the Autism Practice Development Group for adults with Learning Disability: as well as the diagnostic pathway, they have been involved in developing the Autism Strategy for Learning Disabilities. Additionally, there is an Autism Strategy Implementation Group; this is a multiagency group led by Sheffield City Council, which is tasked with implementation of the Autism Act and Strategy across the city.


For children there are a range of therapy teams that provide services and support to individuals with autism. These teams include, The Early Years Team, Psychology, Speech and Language Therapy, Neuro Disability Paediatricians and Occupational Therapy Services.



5.       An email address/website for each of these agencies or teams where possible.


For adults: please see the following website for information on the Autism Strategy for Adults with Learning Disability and details of the Community Learning Disability Team: 


For children: please see the following website for information:



6.       What the typical process should be for an adult in your area first asking their GP for an assessment for autistic spectrum disorder to receiving a diagnosis/support?


For adults there is currently no defined pathway for diagnosis for people with ASD in Sheffield, although some people do get referred to the Community Mental Health Teams (CMHT) by their GP for diagnosis or support, the CMHTs are not commissioned to do this work. Some referrals have come through the Individual Funding Request (IFR) route for diagnosis in exceptional cases.


However, for people with learning disability and ASD, there is a well-defined referral process to the Community Learning Disability Teams and the Autism Practice Development team would pick up referrals through this route from GPs, other health and social care professionals, from carers and from people with ASD and Learning disability themselves.


I hope this information satisfies your request.  If you are not satisfied with our response or the way your request has been dealt with you should contact the Freedom of Information lead at:  in the first instance.


You have the right to ask for a review of the decision.  Please quote the reference number at the top of the page in any correspondence.


If, following the review, you are still not satisfied with the way your request has been handled, you have a right to complain to the Information Commissioner under section 50 of the Freedom of Information Act, and ask him to investigate whether we have complied with the terms of the Freedom of Information Act.  Generally the Information Commissioner will not investigate a complaint unless an internal review has been completed.


The Information Commissioners website is at:


The postal address is: Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SKI AF.


Please note:

The release of information in response to a Freedom of Information request does not confer permission for commercial reuse of the information under the Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2005.


Please be advised that NHS Sheffield publishes requests and responses under the Freedom of Information Acton on its web site at


Your personal details, where these have been provided, will be removed to protect confidentiality.


Kind regards


Rachel Gillott

Deputy Director of Performance

Sheffield PCT