Last autumn, NHS England published a new national plan under the 'Transforming Care' agenda, called Building the Right Support. The plan was created to ensure that autistic people or those with learning disabilities were not living in inappropriate inpatient units, such as Assessment and Treatment Units (ATUs) or other mental health units. Autistic people should be in their communities, closer to their families, friends and with the support they need.
While we have seen some progress in moving people from units into community-based settings, it’s been far too slow – with the number of people in units hovering between 2550-2600 in the last year. We’ve also seen that the number of autistic people who do not also have a learning disability in the units has actually increased. Over the last year, this number has gone up by around 100.
This is a concerning finding, and we’re worried that autistic people are being left behind – stuck in inappropriate placements. We need to know why this is happening, and want NHS England to investigate the reasons why autistic people do not seem to be benefitting from Transforming Care as they should be, and then take action to put this right.
Mark Lever, our Chief Executive says, “NHS England showed leadership in developing its national closure programme for inappropriate mental health beds."
We’re worried that some autistic people are stuck in inappropriate placements. They must not be left behind.
"England’s Transforming Care plan has welcome aims, but it needs to meet the needs of autistic people.”