This week started with a visit to a specially adapted home in Nursling which a young autistic person is shortly to move into after a prolonged stay in hospital. One of the many challenges faced by the NHS, and indeed the social care sector, is a lack of appropriate accommodation, which is why Purpose Homes is working to increase the number of specialist homes. From the padded walls in the bedroom, the special bath, the colour choices, everything has been designed to provide a safe and reassuring environment. There is, as we all know, a spectrum of autistic disorders, and this accommodation is obviously only for those with high end needs, but it will enable the resident to have a much better quality of life than if confined to a hospital setting.
Next week in Westminster Hall there is a Petitions Committee debate on waiting lists for autism diagnosis, and I have been contacted by a number of parents of autistic children asking me to recount their experiences. I very much hope to be able to do so, but obviously won't know how well subscribed the debate is until I get there.
This Friday I have a busy constituency surgery and two important meetings, the first with Utilita who are based in the constituency to talk about support for vulnerable customers, pre-payment apps and what more needs to be done. I am also having a meeting with Hampshire colleagues and the Integrated Care Board on primary care acccess. Fortunately that can be done via zoom, as getting colleagues in the same room on a Friday is next to impossible.