A new multi-million pound strategy to speed up diagnosis and improve support and care for autistic people has been announced by the Government.
The strategy aims to speed up diagnosis and improve support and care for autistic people. The funding includes £40 million through the NHS Long Term Plan to improve capacity in crisis services and support children with complex needs in inpatient care.
'Improving the lives of autistic people is a priority and this new strategy, backed by almost £75 million in the first year, will help us create a society that truly understands and includes autistic people in all aspects of life,’ said Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid.
‘It will reduce diagnosis waiting times for children and adults and improve community support for autistic people. This is crucial in reducing the health inequalities they face, and the unacceptable life expectancy gap that exists today.’
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Autistic people face multiple disadvantages throughout their lives, with too many struggling to get support that is tailored to their needs at an early enough stage and facing stigma and misunderstanding, often leaving them lonely or isolated. Through this new strategy, steps will be taken to improve diagnosis, which is crucial to help people get the support they need, and improve society’s understanding of autism.
‘The strategy recognises many of the biggest challenges autistic people of all ages face. We and our supporters have long campaigned for a fully-funded public understanding campaign, significant investment in reducing diagnosis waiting times and better post-diagnostic support. No-one should feel judged for being autistic, or to have to wait many months for a potentially life changing diagnosis and vital help and support,’ said Caroline Stevens, Chief Executive of the National Autistic Society.
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‘So, we’re really pleased to finally see these as concrete actions in the first year of the new strategy, alongside other important commitments for autistic people and their families. But the true success of the strategy will depend on the Government investing in autistic people each year, as well as the Prime Minister honouring his promise to fix the social care crisis. If this happens, this strategy could be a significant step forward in creating a society that really works for autistic children, adults and their families.’