Resource packs to support GPs and their teams to make their surgeries more visibly friendly for patients on the autism spectrum have been sent to every GP practice in England this week.
The packs, developed by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), aim to support GP practices to meet the commitments in the RCGP Autism Patient Charter, which provides a framework for making GP surgeries more visibly friendly for those on the autism spectrum.
The packs have been developed by the College in collaboration with a number of organisations including Research Autism, who co-produced the Autism and Primary Care leaflet, and Autism Alliance UK, who co-produced the Autism Patient Charter. The pack also contains information from Newcastle University about two national autism research projects.
Resources in the pack include a guide for patients on the autism spectrum to help them get the most out of their GP visit, and a guide for GPs to support effectively consultations with patients on the autism spectrum.
Dr Carole Buckley, who is Clinical Champion for Autism at the College and a member of the Research Autism Scientific and Advisory Committee, said,
"I am delighted that the RCGP, Research Autism, the Autism Alliance and other organisations have come together to produce this resource pack. As a GP in partnership in Bristol and as a mother of a son on the autism spectrum I know just how valuable this pack will be. Primary care staff need to know more than just the medical facts about autism, they also need to know the best way to provide the right kind of support to patients on the autism spectrum and their families."
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The term autism is used to describe a range of neurological conditions affecting the development of usual forms of social behaviour and communication. Autistic children and adults may have additional intellectual difficulties but the majority will be of average or above average intellectual ability. Some will have superior abilities particularly in science or the arts. The majority of people affected report difficulties in sensory processing and in making sense of day to day interactions with others often causing them to be isolated, bullied and anxious. In an unacceptably high number their difficulties will go unrecognised or be misunderstood. With support and understanding and the right help people can go on to fulfil their potential or go on to lead happier and more fulfilled lives. Sadly at present, many do not and they and their families experience stressful, uncertain and difficult lives.
Bernard Fleming, Information Manager, Tel. 020 3490 3091, email email@example.com
Research Autism is the only UK charity dedicated to the production of quality, trusted information on autism treatments and other approaches. Its Information Centre is informed by world experts and accredited by the NHS Information Standard, an independent kite-mark of reliability and quality. It guides people through the minefield of interventions on offer, allowing them to make informed decisions based on impartial, factual information, including risks and hazards. Its research programme is derived from the priorities of autistic people and families and addresses areas that affect everyday life.
The RCGP is a network of more than 50,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. It works to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards