NICE to play key role in national autism strategy
NICE is developing a clinical guideline to help improve the care of adults with autism that will contribute to achieving the aims of the first ever autism strategy for adults in England.
The strategy, Fulfilling and rewarding lives, was launched today by the Department of Health in order to kick-start a fundamental change in public services helping adults with autism to live independent lives and find work.
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability and although some people can live relatively independently, others will have high dependency needs requiring a lifetime of specialist care. There are approximately 400,000 adults with the condition in England, around half of whom have a learning disability.
The first, and fundamental, step of the strategy is to increase awareness and understanding of autism across all public services.
The second strand of the strategy is to develop a clear, consistent pathway for diagnosis of autism across the country. To support this, NICE is developing a clinical guideline which will include diagnostic processes.
The overall aim is to increase capacity around diagnosis so that in every area of the country people have easier access to diagnosis if they want it and a clear, consistent pathway for diagnosis.
The forthcoming NICE guideline will also set out a model care pathway, which will form the foundation for local commissioners to develop referral and care pathways in their areas, supported by their strategic health authority where necessary.
Care Services Minister Phil Hope said: “I want the autism strategy to be the foundation for change in the way our whole society treats adults with autism. They have a huge contribution to make - shutting them out deprives everyone.
“It is unacceptable that adults with autism are not getting the support they need to live independently and find work. This strategy will start a fundamental change in public services with better awareness and understanding. It puts more momentum into tackling social exclusion among adults with autism alongside other work, including new NICE clinical guidance and research.”
NICE is also working to produce a clinical guideline for children and young people with autism later this year.
The Government will publish a first year delivery plan in March 2010, followed by statutory guidance for health and social care by December 2010. The strategy will be reviewed in 2013.
3 March 2010
This page was last updated: 14 April 2010