THERE are a number of concerning findings from a national study about autism services, chiefly among them the lengthy delays for assessments.

The study by the Healthwatch Network has found that some people, including children, in parts of the country have to wait more than three years for diagnosis.

Healthwatch Bradford and District, whose own findings have contributed to the national picture, has also unearthed some other local difficulties in this area, including insufficient support for people after diagnosis.

Of course, as more becomes known about the condition there will be a growing demand for diagnosis, particularly from parents worried about their child's development.

But early intervention is also crucial to provide the best possible support package for those who are deemed to be on the Autistic Spectrum.

In fairness to the district's Clinical Commissioning Groups, which decide how to allocate NHS funding, they say they are responding to the gaps in services identified by Healthwatch and have now drawn up a new strategy aimed at both cutting waiting lists and improving access to support services.

But these reassurances will only offer cold comfort to the individuals or the families of those who are trapped on extensive waiting lists unless there are swift signs of real improvement.

For its part, Healthwatch Bradford and District has pledged to keep health chiefs' feet to the fire to ensure that that progress that is promised is made.

There will be many families in the district struggling to cope at the moment as they wait for help who will wholeheartedly back that commitment.