Call for more autism training for NHS staff

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The NHS should train medical professionals to support people with autism so that patients do not feel they get inadequate treatment, an inquiry has found.

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.

An estimated 700,000 people have the condition in the UK and the Autism Act should guarantee them awareness in the health service, the study says.

Barry Sheerman, the MP for Huddersfield who founded the inquiry and has a grandson with autism, said: “Our health professionals are committed and wellintentioned. 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.”

He also called for annual health checks and for NHS England to appoint a national clinical director for autism.

The commission’s study, published in parliament on Monday, included a survey of almost 900 autistic people, parents and professionals. Nearly three-quarters of respondents felt people with autism received worse or much worse treatment than others.

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August 10, 2016

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