Yesterday, the Government announced that it would be providing a welcome additional £25 million to build on the Transforming Care programme, which aims to support people with a learning disability and/or autism out of inappropriate inpatient units and into the community. 

This is so these people can be given the right support in the community and nearer to their families and friends.

We are glad to see more funding put aside to build appropriate housing, train staff and implement local support. However we are deeply concerned and disappointed to see that this money is allocated only for provision for people with a learning disability, meaning that those who are autistic without a learning disability currently in these units will not benefit from it. 

Transforming Care includes around 2500 people and roughly a third of those people have a diagnosis of autism. Although many people with autism included in Transforming Care have a learning disability, around one in six of the total population of these units have a diagnosis of autism and do not have a learning disability. This means that funding for the housing, staff training and support of these people has not been allocated in yesterday’s announcement.

This adds to our concerns that autistic people are being left behind. Recent data found that the number of people with autism who do not have a learning disability in these units has increased in the last year, while the overall number of people has decreased. This is a very worrying finding.

Sarah Lambert, our Head of Policy, says: “Being stuck in these units for a long period is extremely damaging and often causes people’s mental and physical health to deteriorate. 

“We need leadership from the Government and NHS England, backed up with the funding needed to ensure that autistic people are able to gain the same benefits from the Transformation Care plan as those with learning disabilities. They must not be left behind.”

Read reports from the NHS Assuring Transformation Collection