GPs ask for more autism support

GPs and PCTs need better guidance on managing people with autism, the National Audit Office (NAO) has said.

The watchdog assessed health and social care services in England for adults with autism.

It found that 80 per cent of GPs want more guidance and training to identify and treat people with the condition. In addition, 70 per cent of GPs do not believe that people with autism receive adequate care, the NAO found.

In the wake of the findings, the NAO called for the DoH to produce guidance for PCTs on how to improve information on autism services for GPs.

GPs who responded to the NAO called for the development of referral protocols for people with autism, particularly high-functioning patients.

PCTs should also set out which services are available locally and NICE should produce guidance on what services should be in place, GPs said.

The NAO expects improved autism services to be cost-neutral in the long term, because of increased employment opportunities for people with the condition and other revenue-generating changes.

Because current services are limited, 64 per cent of GPs said they referred adults with suspected high-functioning autism to adult mental health services.

tom.moberly@haymarket.com

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