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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-12031: Dean Lockhart (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 13 October 2017

To ask the Scottish Government what progress has been made by NHS boards to implement an improvement programme to improve diagnostic services and increase diagnostic capacity, as stated in the Scottish Strategy for Autism paper, Outcomes Approach – Priorities 2015-2017.

Answered by: Maureen Watt 6 November 2017

Improving diagnostic services and increasing diagnostic capacity remain Scottish Government priorities for the Scottish Strategy for Autism.

To help achieve our aims NHS Education Scotland (NES), the education and training body for the NHS in Scotland, has developed an Autism Training Framework, which can be accessed at: http://elearning.scot.nhs.uk:8080/intralibrary/open_virtual_file_path/i1923n4027869t/NESD0350ASDTrainingFramework-WEB.pdf.

This framework describes the knowledge and skills required by generic health and social care workers who encounter an autistic person through to those who provide highly specialised interventions in autism services, and is divided into three keys areas: Identification, Screening, Assessment and Diagnosis; Management, Support and Intervention; and Autism Across the Lifespan.

NES continues to work with colleagues across the NHS and wider public sector to ensure staff receive the training they need, and has made available a number of aids and resources to facilitate this, including an Autism Spectrum Disorder online learning space at: http://www.knowledge.scot.nhs.uk/home/learning-and-cpd/learning spaces/autism-spectrum-disorder.aspx.

NES has also published a document entitled Key considerations in promoting positive practice for Autism Spectrum Disorders. This guide is a resource for staff working in health and social care and serves as a basis on which they can consider their approach to autistic individuals who access their service. The guide is available at: http://www.knowledge.scot.nhs.uk/media/12413447/nesd0565%20autismguide_web.pdf

The Scottish Government is also investing in an Improvement Programme to reduce waiting times for assessment by improving diagnostic services and increasing diagnostic capacity across child and adult services.