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General Practitioner autism training and mandatory medical training: a cross-sectional study of GPs’ knowledge, attitudes and practices

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posted on 2023-06-10, 05:55 authored by Nick Chown, Sebastian ShawSebastian Shaw, Mary Doherty, Mona Johnson, Joanna Krupa, Nicola Martin, Molly Brooker-Corcoran
Numerous physical conditions appear with increased frequency in autistic individuals in comparison to their non-autistic peers. These co-existing conditions are known to lead to higher morbidity, lower quality of life, and lower life expectancy in autistic adults. There is substantial evidence in the literature that many, if not most, General Practitioners (GPs) in the United Kingdom do not have the necessary understanding of autism to enable them to offer the same standard of service to their autistic patients that their non-autistic patients receive. This research project was set up, inter alia, to explore the attitudes of GPs to the introduction of autism training and the contentious issue of making GP training on any subject mandatory rather than voluntary. We wanted to better understand how autism training for GPs might be developed to maximise "take-up" and “buy-in” given that the demands on their time, including training demands, are such that autism is only one of many conditions vying for training time and mandatory training is anathema to many GPs. Key findings were that nearly three quarters of our respondents strongly agreed that training in autism is important for GPs, the same percentage of our participants had received little or no formal autism training, and there was a general dislike of any training being made mandatory. Training should be focused on barriers faced by autistic people in accessing healthcare as well as on autism as a medical condition. No respondent had received a significant level of training in autism although 40% of participants who had received training had been trained by an autistic individual.


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Canadian Journal of Educational and Social Studies




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