An estimated 700,000 people in the UK have Autism and the Autism Act should guarantee them awareness in the health service, study says
The Westminster commission on autism called on the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, to remind clinical commissioning groups of the obligations to ensure staff have the skills to support autistic people, reports the Guardian.
Barry Sheerman, the MP for Huddersfield, founder of the inquiry who has a grandson with autism said:
“Our health professionals are committed and well-intentioned. However, despite the Autism Act, many still have had no autism training whatsoever nor are supported in consulting with autistic patients. This must change now.”
Sheerman also called for annual health checks and for NHS England to appoint a national clinical director for autism.
The commission’s study which includes a survey of almost 900 autistic people, parents and professionals found that:
Almost 3/4 of respondents felt people with autism received worse or much worse treatment than others
Almost 3/4 of respondents said medics rarely or never understand autism and it effects on physical and mental health
70% cited training as the top priority to improve access to healthcare
A Department of Health spokesman said it had been working with the Royal College of General Practitioners to improve Gps’ understanding of autism.
“We have made monumental strides towards improving the lives of people with autism in this country and are determined to make further progress. We are working alongside people with autism, and their carers, to make sure they have access to healthcare with adjustments made for their conditions.”
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