The provision of services to persons with an intellectual disability and those with autism is the responsibility of the health boards in the first instance. While new additional services specifically for persons with autism have been and will continue to be developed, many persons with autism are in receipt of services within the intellectual disability services and have benefited generally from the development of new residential, respite and day services which have been substantially enhanced in recent years. However, the Government recognised that there was a need to accelerate the pace at which the identified needs of persons with autism and those with an intellectual disability were being met and is committed to meeting those needs within a defined timeframe of three years, starting with a major acceleration of investment, both capital and revenue, this year.
The additional revenue funding being allocated in 2000 is designed to support the opening of additional services with an annual cost of £35 million. The services being provided with this funding include the development and enhancement of health related support services for persons with autism.
The additional revenue funding will provide: 555 new residential places; 185 new respite places; 700 new day places; health related support services for persons with autism; the continuation of the programme to transfer persons with an intellectual disability from psychiatric hospitals and other inappropriate placements and additional specialist and other support services.
There is also a need for capital investment in the infrastructure required to support these services.