"Lack of support for people with Asperger's Syndrome"

About: South Staffordshire And Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust / Adult mental health South Staffordshire PCT

(as a carer),

My son tried to commit suicide. He was assessed by a mental health worker as needing help.

Weeks later he was assessed by a psychologist. Whilst she accepted that he had problems, she decided that these were due to his Asperger's, not a mental health problem so she refused him treatment. When I complained, I discovered that the health authority has no provision for people with Asperger's who need help.

I feel this is discriminatory and contrary to the Autism Bill 2009, which my PCT hasn't implemented yet.

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Response from South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

South Staffordshire & Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust does provide services to people who have Asperger's Syndrome, but only those who also have either a learning disability or mental health problems. If someone has needs that are purely related to the Asperger's Syndrome then these cannot be met by the Trust, which is commissioned to provide mental health and learning disability services.

This gap in the range of services is recognised by commissioners and so, in response, the Staffordshire Joint Commissioning Unit is leading an (Adults) Autism Partnership Board, covering local authorities and Primary Care Trusts across Staffordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin, with input from service users, parents, carers and providers (including this Trust), which is committed to working together to identify ways in which services for adults with Asperger's Syndrome can be improved. The Autism Partnership Board has produced a draft Autism Strategy which it is currently consulting on.