Skip to main content

Beyond Transforming Care

Over a thousand autistic people are currently in mental health hospitals. That number has increased since March 2015, when it should have decreased. And, shockingly, the number of autistic people without an accompanying learning disability has increased by almost a quarter.

All too often this provision is inappropriate and fails to understand autism properly. As a result, many autistic people are at risk of being subject to traumatic and unnecessary restraint, seclusion and overmedication. Their families too often feel powerless to challenge people making decisions about their care, even if it’s clear that their relatives are distressed and traumatised. This is unacceptable.

Each month, the NHS publishes information about the number of autistic people or people with a learning disability who are in inpatient mental health hospitals. It’s called Assuring Transformation. The National Autistic Society called for more information about autism within this, so we could understand better what is going on and why more autistic people are becoming stuck in hospital. This report sets out some of the findings from this new data.

We found that:

  • The number of reported autistic people in mental health hospitals is increasing
  • The number and proportion of young autistic people in hospitals is higher
  • Autistic people are often in mental health hospitals for a long time
  • Many autistic people have been flagged as not needing inpatient care anymore but are still in hospital

This appalling situation has to change. Autistic people must be free from trauma, over-medication and frequent restraint.

The NHS, locally and nationally, must prioritise:

  • Making sure there are enough services in the community
  • Making sure the money is available for community services
  • Making sure mental health law reflects the needs of autistic people

Read on to find out more about this important issue.