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Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 5th April 2019.

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Photo of Lord Touhig Lord Touhig Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford on 25 March (HL Deb, col 1611), whether the review of autism services will examine the questions of autistic people without a learning disability being placed in mental health hospitals.

Photo of Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

In Building the right support we have a plan to build capacity and services in the community in order to reduce reliance on inpatient care for people with a learning disability, and for autistic people and so that they can be appropriately supported to live in the community. A copy of the report is attached.

Supporting people on the autism spectrum or with learning disabilities is one of the four clinical priority areas in the NHS Long Term Plan published on 7 January 2019. This commits to implementing the Building the right support plan in full, achieving at least a 50% reduction in the number of people with a learning disability or autism who are inpatients (compared to the figure in 2015) by the end of 2023/24. The National Health Service national planning guidance requires a 35% reduction in inpatients no later than the end of 2019/20. The Long Term Plan also commits to ensuring that every local economy has specialist community provision. Every local health system will be expected to use some of its growing community health services investment to have a seven-day specialist multidisciplinary service and crisis care to prevent people with learning disability and autistic people, from needing hospital inpatient care.

On 5 December 2018, the Department of Health and Social Care announced that we will be launching a comprehensive review of Think Autism, the national autism strategy. We want an autism strategy that works for all autistic people, and that is why, working very closely with the Department for Education, we will be extending the strategy to include children.

The review is expected to consider the support offered to autistic people who require inpatient care and the support required to enable autistic people to live well in their communities.

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