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The NHS unveiled its Long Term Plan earlier this year, with proposals which could help to tackle inequality and improve health and care services for autistic people across England.

They have today provided further details of how the plan will be delivered by local health bodies in this Implementation Framework.

What we think

Jane Harris, Director of External Affairs at the National Autistic Society, said: “The NHS named autism as a clinical priority in its Long Term Plan earlier this year, which is a huge opportunity to finally end the unacceptable health inequality faced by autistic people.

“But today’s Implementation Framework doesn’t fully explain how the NHS will live up to this ambition. We’re particularly concerned that while there is a commitment to looking at models for children's diagnosis services, there is no money dedicated to immediately tackling the autism diagnosis waiting time crisis. This was one of the key commitments in the Long Term Plan.

"Long waits can be traumatic for autistic people and their families, who are often desperate for help. Having a timely diagnosis is often vital to getting support. Without it, many develop mental health problems like anxiety or depression – and end up being pushed to crisis point.

“NHS England and the Government must live up to the ambition of the Long Term Plan and honour their promise to autistic people. But it will only be possible if they put in place the right funds to support local health bodies make the changes they need to.”