New video guides will help autistic people understand health and social care appointments

Autistic people can now get a better understanding of what to expect from screening appointments and other common NHS experiences thanks to an innovative series of videos created and produced by Autism Bedfordshire and funded by Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board.

A launch event being held in Flitwick today (Wednesday 27th March) saw the première of videos on type 2 diabetes, breast screening and weight management.  These will be followed by further films in the series, which will first be seen during Autism Awareness Week (2-8 April) and include guides to blood tests and other healthcare screenings.

Autistic people were identified as a key group in the Denny Review, a pioneering report on health inequalities in the local area, led by Reverend Lloyd Denny, a well-respected faith and community leader from Luton, was published in September last year.

The report, which included more than two thousand resident voices, outlined that some people face worse health outcomes than others, because they don’t understand how health and care services work, or what will happen during routine appointments.

Using insights from interviews undertaken by local Healthwatch organisations and grassroots organisations in the voluntary, charity and social enterprise sector, a series of explainer videos have been developed to break down the barriers to good health for autistic people and other learning disabilities.

Felicity Cox, Chief Executive Officer of Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board, said:

“I congratulate Autism Bedfordshire for leading the way in responding to the recommendations outlined in the Denny Review and producing a series of videos which will really break down barriers for people accessing health and care.”

“We know that people living with autism often need information presented in a different way and so it’s essential that we make it as easy as possible for everyone to access tests and screening which will help people access the help and care they need to lead long and healthy lives.”

“We are determined to put into action the recommendations which were made by Reverend Lloyd Denny, and this is a positive step in the right direction.”

Emma Reade, Chief Executive officer of Autism Bedfordshire, said:

“We’ve been privileged to support autistic adults – as well as with their families, carers and friends – to produce films which meet their needs.  Something like a  blood test or a screening appointment can be a very daunting experience , so our guides will show people what to expect.

“This way of working – which is called co-production – is essential in a project like this, because it ensures that autistic people are always at the very centre of what we do and in control of their own healthcare experiences.”

A member from Autism Bedfordshire said:

“I lost faith in the health service and didn’t consider well women screenings to be essential.  Being part of this project has given me increased confidence to access health services again.  I am now more likely to go, I feel more prepared, I am very clear at telling people I am autistic.”


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