Publication date: 30 Oct, 2019
Commission visitors met 54 people living in hospital or in the community across Scotland, and spoke to medical and care staff, along with family members and carers.
The Commission carried out these visits because it is aware that autistic people have particular needs that are not always met in settings designed for people with other conditions.
For those who also have a learning disability or mental illness, they will often be treated in general learning disability or mental health wards or care services which are not designed for people with autism.
Colin McKay, chief executive, Mental Welfare Commission, said:
“The people we met had a range of complex, individual needs, and there was wide variation in the extent to which services were able to meet those needs.
“Getting it right takes time and can be expensive. But we found that getting it wrong, and failing to design services around the individual, could be even more expensive. Equally important, getting it wrong fails the individual and leaves professionals unable to give the high quality care and support we know they want to give.
“On the use of psychotropic medication and restraint to manage behaviours, while we cannot say that in individual cases it was unjustified, we are nevertheless very concerned by the scale of its use, and we are asking the Scottish Patient Safety Programme to work with the NHS to reduce this.
“We are also disappointed that we have again found very long delays in discharging autistic people from hospital to community settings. This has been reported several times – we now need a clear plan to solve the problem.”
1. In planning the report, the Commission met with a range of organisations including the National Autistic Society, Scottish Autism, Autism Initiatives and PASDA, and attended carers’ meeting to hear from families, and consultation events on the National Autism Strategy.
2. The Commission then decided to focus on visits to people who:
3. The report makes ten recommendations, which include: