Health executives are delaying the development of a formal strategy on autism for the Isle of Man.

The decision comes following the public consultation to ‘inform’ such a strategy.

Instead, the Department of Health and Social Care will focus on making ‘immediate improvements’ to current services.

The department says it wants to make suggested changes that don’t need a strategy to be in place before they begin.

It will now undertake an awareness campaign and work within departments to improve access and make the reasonable adjustments highlighted in the Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) consultation.

In April, a public consultation asked the island’s ASC community, and the people who support them, what improvements need to be made in support and services.

Feedback from nearly 400 people outlined the community’s concerns and issues, and the results of this consultation will be used to develop the island’s first national ASC strategy. The strategy will help create a more autism friendly island, and will lay out a framework for improving services and support for our ASC community.

Originally due to be published by December 2022, this date will now be extended while the immediate work is undertaken.

Minister for Health and Social Care Lawrie Hooper MHK said: ‘We are grateful to everyone who took the time to tell us about their experiences of ASC on the Isle of Man. We now know that there are some immediate issues that can be resolved quickly and efficiently, while we take the time to produce a meaningful strategy.’

‘The results of the consultation showed us that making substantial improvements for our ASC community will require cross-departmental support, and carefully considered approaches to unpicking some of the more complex issues highlighted by the experiences people told us about. ‘

More information, including the consultation results and analysis are available on the Autism Strategy webpage. A further progress update will be provided in in early 2023, with the aim to produce a draft strategy by April 2023.