Views about Primary Care health checks for autistic adults: UK survey findings

David Mason, Helen Taylor, Barry Ingham*, Tracy Finch, Colin Wilson, Clare Scarlett, Anna Urbanowicz, Christina Nicolaidis, Nicholas Lennox, Sebastian Moss, Carole Buckley, Sally-Ann Cooper, Malcom Osborne, Deborah Garland, Dora Raymaker, Jeremy R. Parr

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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BACKGROUND: Compared to the general population, autistic adults experience higher rates of physical and mental health conditions, premature morbidity and mortality, and barriers to healthcare. A health check for autistic people may improve their health outcomes.

AIM: To establish the views of autistic people toward a primary care health check for autistic people.

DESIGN AND SETTING: Cross-sectional questionnaire study.

METHODS: A questionnaire was sent to autistic adults with physical health conditions in England and Wales. 458 people (441 autistic adults and 17 proxy responders) completed the questionnaire.

RESULTS: Most respondents (72.9%, n=336) thought a health check is needed for all autistic people. Around half of the participants thought a health check should be offered from childhood and the health check appointment should last between 15 and 30 minutes. Autistic people were positive about providing primary care staff with contextual information regarding their health and the reasonable adjustments they would like prior to their health check appointment. Training about autism and the health check was considered important, alongside adequate time for discussions in the health check appointment (all by over 80% of respondents). Clinician's autism knowledge, seeing a familiar clinician, environmental adaptations, appropriate information, and accessible appointments were considered particularly important in making a health check accessible.

CONCLUSIONS: Autistic people and relatives were supportive of a primary care health check for autistic people. Information gathered was used to support the design of a primary care health check for autistic adults.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBJGP Open
Early online date26 May 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 May 2022


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