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ICBs should review ‘restrictive’ practices used against autistic adults

ICBs should review ‘restrictive’ practices used against autistic adults
By Jess Hacker
12 December 2023

ICBs should review and minimise restrictive practices used against adults with autism that impact their autonomy and agency, NHS England has advised.

New guidance intended to help ICBs improve mental health care for the cohort urged the boards to undertake a ‘thorough examination’ of all practices operating in community and inpatient services to reduce overt and subtle restrictions.

These might include lack of choice or control, an overreliance on crisis intervention and seclusion, restraint and long-term segregation.

Other key recommendations include:

  • Ensure services have sufficient capacity to meet current and projected need
  • Anticipate likely growth in the number of people being diagnosed as autistic
  • Promote and roll out the Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training on Learning Disability and Autism
  • Support cohesive transitions from children’s to adult’s services
  • Ensure all services are accessible and acceptable to autistic adults.

This comes as data, published by NHS Digital, has indicated that the percentage of patients who have a learning disability and an autism diagnosis has increased significantly in the last five years.

The figure stood at 21.4% in 2017-18 and has risen to 32.4% in 2022-23.

And the percentage of patients without a learning disability who have a diagnosis of autism has increased from 0.5% to 1.0% over the same period.

Data published last month revealed that more than 1 million people have completed the Oliver McGowan mandatory training to support people with a learning disability or autism.

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