A bill intended to enshrine the government’s autism strategy for adults in legislation has successfully passed through the House of Commons.
The Autism Bill will now move to the House of Lords after receiving its third reading in the Commons on Friday.
Consultation under way
The strategy will lead to guidance covering the provision of diagnostic services, the identification of adults with autism, assessments of need, service planning, and transition planning for young people. It is currently under consultation and due to be published by April 2010.
The bill originated as a private member’s bill, drafted by the National Autistic Society and brought by Conservative MP Cheryl Gillan. But effectively became a government bill last month after care services minister Phil Hope amended it to incorporate the autism strategy last month.
Tory MP welcomes bill
In last week’s debate in the House of Commons, Gillan said the bill “has the potential to deliver the crucial improvements needed for the approximately 500,000 people with autism in the UK, who have been neglected for so long”.
Health minister Ann Keen said of the strategy’s five key themes – health, social inclusion, choice and control, access to training and employment, and staff training – the final issue was often cited by adults with autism as a particular problem.
Minister promises action on training
She explained: “Those who are supposed to provide them with support and services do not always have the necessary understanding and awareness to provide the right type of support.”
Keen said the Department of Health would consult professional bodies “to take action on training issues” while developing the strategy.