Health Services

How to make your GP practice/environment autism friendly

How to make your GP practice autism friendly

  • Undertake staff autism awareness training in line with the local autism strategy.
  • Place alert on patients notes to identify autism.
  • Offer information leaflets to patients detailing how to make appointments, obtain medication and other services offered in written/electronic form.
  • Offer ability to book appointments online
  • Offer ability to book first thing or last appointment of the day.
  • Offer slightly longer appointment time either at the beginning or end of the clinical session.
  • Give higher priority order than would be normal in triage clinics/urgent appointments as may have unusual response to pain/illness or very high pain threshold.
  • Offer touch screen booking in for appointments
  • Offer quiet corner in waiting room.
  • Offer ability to wait in car and be called in for appointment.
  • Possibly ask an autistic person to attend your PPG (Patient Participation Group) or offer electronic route for feedback/comments rather than face to face or group attendance.

  • Autistic Spectrum Disorders are a recognised disability and diagnosis can open pathways to make life easier for the patient.
  • Diagnosis helps individuals make sense of the world around them, their history and difficulties.
  • Better understanding of the self helps planning for the future.
  • Families, friends, carers, employers, criminal justice system and educational establishments are helped to understand, accept and respond appropriately to individuals needs.
  • Diagnosis helps individuals’ access appropriate support.
  • Better understanding of a person can help consultations, dynamics within the surgery, access to and engagement with medical services.
  • There is a possibility that many undiagnosed individuals with ASD are frequent surgery/out of hours and casualty attendees as well as generating/seeking multiple referrals.
  • Identify potential options that patient expects from referral.
  • Indicate the medical, psychological, educational, and social impact of the person's autism on the referral form.
  • Document name and nature of any support person. And try to recommend they attend the out-patient appointment.
  • Document any involvement with the criminal justice system as well as employment tribunals, litigation etc.
  • Inform patient of the assessment procedure and what to expect. An awareness of the diagnostic procedure and support/care is available locally through Autism Hampshire.
  • Identification of concurrent medical conditions and extent of engagement with healthcare system.
  • Identification of any carers and any issues pertaining to them that may affect the patients care/support. (illness etc).
  • Include any pertinent paediatric/educational psychology reports.
  • Attach any written report from the patient/carers of their ideas/issues that lead them to suspect autism.

The BPS has developed three e-learning modules on autism, which appeal to a range of learners by delivering knowledge and understanding from introductory to specialised levels. The e-learning modules are delivered via the BPS Learning Centre. The BPS has worked in partnership with psychologists with expertise in autism and an e-learning provider to produce and deliver these modules. Two modules are freely available to both members and non-members of the BPS and the third is aimed principally at psychologists and all professionals working in this field.

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