The Government is to produce a Quality Standard for adults with autism. Care services minister Paul Burstow announced the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) Quality Standard in his speech at the National Autistic Society’s (NAS) Professionals Conference in Manchester.

Developed in collaboration with the NHS and social care professionals, the Quality Standard is a set of specific, concise guidelines that act as markers of high-quality, cost-effective care. The guidelines will cover identification, referral, diagnosis, post diagnostic support and interventions; and, it is hoped, will greatly improve the level of care many people with autism currently receive.

Mark Lever, chief executive of the NAS, said: “Too often adults with autism are sent from pillar to post whilst seeking appropriate services. The longer they have to wait, the longer it takes for them to get the right support in place. This can have an extremely negative impact and lead to more costly services and support being required later in life. “These guidelines will be used to judge the performance both locally and nationally of the whole NHS. This could potentially be a huge step forward and will help to imbed the needs of adults with autism into the health and social care system like never before.”

Robert Buckland, MP Swindon South, who has supported the campaign by introducing a 10 Minute Rule Bill into Parliament on this issue, said: “I am delighted that a new Quality Standard for adults with autism will be developed. This is a milestone along the road to improved quality in the provision of health services when it comes to adults with this lifelong condition. I pay tribute to everyone who has worked so hard to make this aim a reality. Our work is not yet over and I will continue to press for a similar quality standard for children with autism.”