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GPs to give patients with learning disability and autism ‘priority appointments’

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NHS England will ask GP practices to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ for patients with a learning disability or autism such as giving them ‘priority appointments’.

They could also be asked to provide ‘easy-read appointment letters’ to the group, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said yesterday in a new strategy on strengthening support for autistic people and those with a learning disability.

It said the measures aim to support Government plans to reduce reliance on mental health inpatient care, with a target to reduce the number of those with a learning disability or autism in specialist inpatient care by 50% by March 2024 compared with March 2015.

The policy paper said: ‘We know that people experience challenges accessing reasonably adjusted support which may prevent them from having their needs met.’

It added: ‘To make it easier for people with a learning disability and autistic people to use health services, there is work underway in NHS England to make sure that staff in health settings know if they need to make reasonable adjustments for people."

NHS England is also developing a ‘reasonable adjustments digital flag’ that will signal that a patient may need reasonable adjustments on their health record, it said.

It plans to make this flag, which is currently being tested, available across all NHS services, it added.

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Source: Pulse 15 July 2022

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