Families welcome move to create national autism register
FAMILY doctors are to be encouraged to keep a register of patients with autism in a bid to ensure they receive tailored care in a move welcomed by families across the area.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence - NICE - launched the new recommendation today to improve the way those with an autistic spectrum disorder can access health services.
It could see GP surgery staff offering appointments at the beginning of a session to patients with autism to minimise waiting or turning down the lights and any background noise for people with sensory problems.
Millom resident Gemma Toman, who is part of a network of parents of children with autism in Millom and its surrounding communities, said it was a step in the right direction.
Ms Toman, whose ten-year-old daughter Brooke Betteridge has autism, added: "I think this is a really good move and I know other families in the area would also see the benefits.
"Our surgery is really supportive, but sometimes we have to leave and come back again if the appointment is delayed.
"We are working with businesses to raise awareness of autism to make this area an autism friendly community and this move links in with that."
The register would work by adding an indicator to patient records. It would alert healthcare professionals to adapt their approach to best suit the individual.
The information would remain confidential outside of the surgery - though anonymised data would help build a national picture of gaps in care available to people with autism.
Mark Lever, chief executive of the National Autistic Society, said: "Today's news is very welcome and follows years of campaigning.
"It is a significant moment which should help people in England.
"But it's not the only answer. It must be accompanied by continued efforts to improve GPs' understanding of autism so they can recognise the needs of different autistic people and provide the right care and guidance.
"Being autistic can be challenging at times, but we've seen again and again how awareness, understanding and early support can make all the difference."
What is autism?
:: Autism is a lifelong condition that affects how a person relates to others.
:: It means they often see, hear or feel the world differently.
:: People can be affected in very different ways, making diagnosis more difficult.
:: People with autism often have other conditions such as ADHD or dyspraxia.