AEM joins campaign calling for change
January 4, 2024
Autism East Midlands is amongst a group of health and social care organisations to back a campaign calling for a change in the adult social care system.
CEO Jane Howson (pictured on the right) has joined a coalition of charities led by Autism Alliance to sign an open letter urging the Prime Minister and Secretary of State to address the huge gaps in a system that is in crisis.
The letter draws attention to the fact that there are around 1 million autistic people in England, representing between 1% and 2% of the population. It highlights the inequalities that prevent autistic adults being able to access job opportunities and play a valuable part in their communities.
The Autism Alliance goes on to say that social care can make an enormous difference to people’s lives. Care providers with specialist knowledge of autism can help autistic people live well and actively in their communities. However, the current social care system does not have sufficient resources to meet that demand.
There are huge gaps in social care and in an understanding of autism, the coalition argues. It says that, as a result, too many autistic people experience deteriorating mental health, leading to crisis and a reliance on mental health hospitals.
The coalition reports that despite the Government’s repeated pledges to build the right support in the community, the number of autistic people in inpatient facilities has risen year on year since 2015, and now stands at over 1,300.
It calls on the Government to address this ‘unacceptable failure’ of the system.
Jane Howson says: "While there is more of an awareness of autism, autistic people still face stigma and discrimination. Everyone has a right to play an active part in their community and at AEM we continue to find ways to make that happen through our specialist support."
“However, our sector is facing bigger challenges year on year and as part of the Autism Alliance, we are urging the Government to better support social care for the future. The amount spent on caring and supporting autistic adults in their own communities, for example, is a fraction of the cost of placing autistic people in mental health hospitals. It is not right that more money is spent on responding to crisis than preventing it.”
In summary, the letter states:
· Over 10,000 autistic adults with a need for social care are not receiving any care at all.
· Over three quarters (77%) of autistic adults reach crisis point before care is provided, leading to confinement in mental health hospitals and the breakdown of families.
· 44% of autistic adults and their families wait over 2 years for care and support – yet the Local Government Social Care Ombudsman recommends no more than eight weeks.
- TO READ THE FULL LETTER >> click here.
While there is more of an awareness of autism, autistic people still face stigma and discrimination. Everyone has a right to play an active part in their community and at AEM we continue to find ways to make that happen through our specialist support.
Jane Howson, CEO at Autism East Midlands
Find out more
For more information about the Autism Alliance campaign, please visit the Breaking Point campaign page.
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