Mental Health Services: Autism

Department of Health written question – answered on 7th January 2016.

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Photo of Angela Rayner Angela Rayner Opposition Whip (Commons), Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps (a) his Department and (b) NHS England is taking to ensure that mental health diagnostic and other services are (i) accessible and (ii) meet the needs of (A) children and (B) adults on the autism spectrum.

Photo of Angela Rayner Angela Rayner Opposition Whip (Commons), Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that best practice on autism diagnosis and post-diagnostic support is shared between clinical commissioning groups.

Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt The Minister of State, Department of Health

We know that people with autism can experience common mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety, as well as other mental illnesses. Over £400 million has been invested in Improving Access to Psychological Therapies to ensure access to talking therapies for those who need them, including those with autism.

An additional investment of £1.4 billion has been allocated to children and young people’s mental health services over the course of this Parliament. The Department is working closely with NHS England to invest in clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to deliver Local Transformation Plans, which must address the full spectrum of need including children with autism and learning disabilities. Roll-out of the Children and Young People’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programmes by 2018 will extend access to training for staff working with children with autism.

With support from the Department, NHS England and the Association of Directors of Social Services will undertake a series of visits to (CCGs) where there is good practice in meeting the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence Quality Standard 51 Autism, and to those that do not, with the aim of identifying best practice on diagnosis and support.

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