Anna Kennedy OBE will be meeting with The Department of Health this week, Feb 5 to discuss the findings of her UK Autism Diagnosis Survey and to ask for more consistency within the NHS regarding autism diagnostic criteria. Autism Daily Newscast have reported on this here
Mark Lever, the Chief Executive of The National Autistic Society ( NAS) states that it is unlikely the Department of Health would see it as their role to adjudicate on whether clinicians are using the ICD 10 or DSM 5 criteria to diagnose autism as this is the role of lead clinicians in the UK.
Mr Lever continues to say:
“Without clinical expertise, civil servants at the Dept. of Health are not really in a position to make that decision themselves. Instead, they have set up bodies like NICE (National Institute of Clinical Excellence) to make those types of decisions.”
Anna Kennedy has found from her survey results and has reported that many individuals are now not gaining a diagnosis as Asperger syndrome no longer exists as a separate diagnosis within DSMV.
Mr Lever states that this should not be happening and explains that this is probably due to training issues rather than the DSMV criteria.
Mr Lever continues to add:
“Studies on DSMV have shown that more or less the same cohort should be getting diagnosed under the newly drafted criteria. It’s just that the label will be different. They will have an ASD diagnosis rather than an Asperger diagnosis. If followed correctly, a DSM V diagnosis should also include much more information about the difficulties and needs of each individual, rather than simply a diagnosis.”
Mr Lever continues to say that if being followed fully it should lead to a clearer picture about the person’s autism and their needs.
As a result of the NAS’s ‘Push for Action’ campaign the Department of Health have now said that they are looking to include autism in their ‘mandate’ to Health Education England – which is the body that oversees workforce development in the health service. This will go in part to help increase the knowledge of health professionals in autism.
Autism Daily Newscast look forward to reporting on the findings of the meeting between Anna Kennedy and the Department of Health.