NHS England has unveiled its Long Term Plan today, which includes commitments that could help to tackle inequality and improve health and care services for autistic people across the country. The proposals are promising and recognise the urgent need to address the barriers that autistic people face in trying to get help from all parts of the NHS in England. The plan discusses:
- improving mental health teams for autistic children and adults
- reducing autism diagnosis waiting times
- piloting a specific health check for autistic people.
In summary, today’s plan is a good start. But it is very much a first step.
Mark Lever, Chief Executive of the National Autistic Society, said:
The NHS plan is a once in a generation opportunity to finally address the unacceptable health inequality faced by autistic people in England.
We hope that by making autism a clinical priority and promising to drive down diagnosis waiting times, to pilot annual health checks and improve support for physical and mental health problems, NHS England is recognising the scale of the appalling situation. But they must also be ready to put in the funds needed to make it right.
Date added: 7 January 2019