Autistic Voices: local people's health and care experiences

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Summary of report content

In Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, the local authorities and health commissioners are developing a new All-Age Autism Strategy.  To prepare for this, an important needs assessment was carried out by Healthwatch Cambridgeshire and Healthwatch Peterborough to understand the characteristics and health needs of autistic people of all ages across their area.

The common themes they found are as follows:

  • People found it hard to get a diagnosis for autism and the path is long.
  • It is not easy to find support after diagnosis.
  • A need for more support was clear. This ranged from help in coming to terms with a diagnosis to help with social skills, advice on training and employment opportunities, benefits, independent living, and where needed, a support worker to guide and encourage people in their daily lives and help them reach their potential.
  • Healthcare workers and the wider community must improve their understanding of autism, especially in women and girls.
  • Mental health services should have a good understanding of autism and the needs of autistic people, so that reasonably adjusted and effective care and treatment is always provided.
  • People wanted better and easier access to services with communication options such as emails and text.
  • People wanted clear information about autism, local services and support.

The report contains recommendations to help local authorities and commissioners develop and enable a pathway of services, including voluntary sector and community organisations, which meet the needs of autistic people.

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General details

Report title 
Autistic Voices: local people's health and care experiences
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Cambridgeshire
Healthwatch Peterborough
Date of publication 
Thursday, 13 May, 2021
Date evidence capture began 
Friday, 28 May, 2021
Date evidence capture finished 
Friday, 28 May, 2021
Key themes 
Communication between staff and patients
Health promotion
Information providing
Quality of care
Staff training

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
What type of organisation requested the work 
Local Council
If this work has been done in partnership, who is the partner? 
Primary research method used 
Focus group
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Mental health services 
Learning disability service

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
All people 18 and over
Not known
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
Types of health and care professionals engaged 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.