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Autism Service launched at Derriford Hospital

alt Derriford Hospital has launched a new service for adults who have autism to improve access to hospital services. It is currently the only specialist service for people with higher-functioning autism in an acute hospital setting in Devon.

Following the announcement of funding earlier this year from Devon County Council’s Improved Better Care Fund and commissioned by Devon CCG, the role now sits within the current Learning Disability team at Derriford Hospital.

The purpose is to provide advice, education and identify resources for people with Autism, carers and Trust staff with the aim of adjusting to individual needs and therefore promoting positive healthcare outcomes. Primarily for adults with autism who do not have learning disabilities, the service is a pilot for 18 months during which data and feedback will be collected to support the continuation of the service.

Autism Lead Nurse, Kate Bamforth said: "The service is for anybody who is diagnosed with autism or is potentially on the autism spectrum and needs to have reasonable adjustments made to their care provision whilst in hospital. The service also extends to advice for employees who have autism."

Kate will be raising awareness of autism among staff at the hospital and providing education and training to those who may be unfamiliar with the condition. She will be assisted by a co trainer on the autistic spectrum.

Advice and support will also be provided to hospital staff, with the aim of meeting the individual needs for people with autism admitted to hospital, or in outpatients; particularly in relation to the hospital environment and identifying quiet spaces.

This service will potentially limit the negative impact on a person with autism's long-term health, which can be affected if difficulties have been encountered with healthcare services, and it will help with addressing the inequalities of healthcare provision that current research has identified.

Derriford Hospital also has a new steering group of people with autism, Derriford Autism Partnership (aDAPt), who will advise on the tools being  developed and services provided to ensure the new service is suitable and valuable to the people who use it.

Chief Nurse, Lenny Byrne, said: “It is so important that people with Autism have the same access to services and experience the same quality of care and treatment that everyone has a right to expect, while recognising that people with autism may have more specific needs than others with regard to accessing, using and experiencing our hospital services.

“This new role will support the improvements required in developing awareness of autism across our services, while working on special initiatives, as well as directly with individual patients and carers in developing personalised care to meet the needs of people with autism.”

The Autism service is available from Monday to Friday 8-4pm,further information can be obtained by contacting the service by letter, phone or email, and anyone who wishes to benefit from this service they must advise the Autism Service so that they can have their information added to the confidential hospital systems.

Phone 01752 432134 email  plh-tr.derrifordautismservice@nhs.net Address Liaison offices level 7, Derriford Hospital Plymouth PL6 8DH

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