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National Autism Strategy

Volume 687: debated on Wednesday 13 January 2021

What recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the development of the new national autism strategy. (910490)

I thank the hon. Lady for raising this important issue and congratulate her on all the work that she does for autistic people. We are working across Government and particularly with the Department for Education to develop a new impactful all-age autism strategy. This will set out specific actions to address the significant inequalities that autistic people and their families face.

We aim to publish the strategy in the spring.

I was not really able to hear the Minister’s answer, but there was a report from the Care Quality Commission in October last year that was quite damning in its account of the experiences of people with autism and learning disabilities in mental health facilities. What work is the Minister doing—particularly in terms of the review of the Mental Health Act 2010 that we will hear about later today—to ensure that people with autism are treated sensitively when they end up encountering mental health services and having to spend time as an in-patient?

I know that the report to which the hon. Lady refers, which was commissioned by the Secretary State for Health and Social Care, did indeed have some very serious findings. We absolutely will take action based on that report. We are also working on the Transforming Care agenda to ensure that people with learning disabilities and autism are not inappropriately in in-patient settings. There is, of course, also the reform of the Mental Health Act, which will mean that it should no longer be used for the detention of people with learning disabilities and autism beyond the 28-day period for assessment.