Four ways your views are helping to improve care for people with autism
Around 700,000 people in the UK are autistic and it's vital that health services meet their needs. Here's four ways your views have been making sure people with autism are listened to.
1. Raising awareness of autism
Local people with austim and parents of autistic children in Islington have been sharing their views on how health and care services could improve the way they communicate. One mother told Helathwatch Islington about some of the challenges she faces. Suggestions for improvements include: having somewhere to sit other than the main waiting area, and additional training for receptionists. Read more.
As part of World Autism Awareness Week, a mother wrote a blog for Healthwatch Essex about her son who has autism and their journey through the health and social care system.
2. Improving how health services communicate with people with autism
People told Healthwatch Herefordshire that they were facing problems accessing primary care because of the challenges that autism can present. Inspired by this insight Healthwatch Herefordshire and the National Autistic Society worked together with the autism partnership board to find out more about people's experiences.
People said that with small adjustments GP surgeries could become much easier places for people with autism to visit. They were also invited to talk about their experiences at a GP staff training day so that staff could hear first-hand what visiting the doctor can be like for people who are autistic. Read more.
3. Helping children get a quicker diagnosis
Local people told Healthwatch Cheshire East about their concerns and frustrations about lengthy delays in getting an appointment to confirm whether their children had autism.
Their views were shared by Healthwatch Cheshire East with the Clinical Commissioning Group to help improve the service, and to make sure it is based on people's experiences and needs. Read more.
Similarly, people in Croydon told Healthwatch about having to wait for up to 18 months for an austism diagnosis for their children. Their views and experiences have been used by Healthwatch Croydon to call for services to reduce the wait and to make it easier for parents to get the help they need after a diagnosis is made.
4. Sharing your experiences
People with autism living in Hampshire spoke to Healthwatch about what it is like having autism and visiting local NHS services. To help raise awareness of the issues they took part in a short video produced by Healthwatch Hampshire.
Use your experiences to improve local care
If you are autistic or care for someone who has autism, you can get in touch with your local Healthwatch to share your views of local health and care services.