NHS England is set to make autism and learning disability a priority over next ten years

The news that NHS England is preparing to make learning disabilities and autism a clinical priority has been positively received from organisations and the public combined.

BENEFIT

Autistic people and their families have praised the recent news, which has the potential to benefit the 700,000 people in the UK on the autistic spectrum.

“This is fantastic news. Hundreds of thousands of autistic people and their families will be pleased to hear that their health and wellbeing will be a key priority for NHS England over the next ten years,” says Jane Harris, director of external affairs at the National Autistic Society.

“More than one in 100 people in England are autistic and they need support from health and care services, like GPs, pharmacies and hospitals, throughout their lives.”

WAITING TIMES

“But as we and our supporters have been saying for years, far too many autistic people wait for years to get a diagnosis through the NHS and to get the care and support they need. Many autistic people continue to have significantly worse physical and mental health than the general public – and may even be at greater risk of dying early,” adds Jane.

Implementing the new procedures, NHS England will be engaging with organisations, professionals and people on the autistic spectrum to identify the key issues within each area.

PRIORITY

The clinical priority of autism and learning disabilities will make a significant difference to people getting diagnosed earlier, post-diagnostic support, assistance for mental illness and more. Such an initiative will also be beneficial for GPs and doctors working directly with people on the autistic spectrum or with a learning disability.

We previously reported on the inequalities people with learning disabilities and autism face when going to the doctor, the ten-year plan is a significant step in the right direction for improved understanding, awareness and acceptance.

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