After months of work with invaluable expert input from AIM CEO Emma Dalmayne, the Westminster Commission on Autism launched their report into fake autism cures at an event in Portcullis House, Westminster on Wednesday. Emma was, of course, included and invited a number of autistic advocates and colleagues from AIM and AutisticUK to join her there.
The Commission Chair, Barry Sheerman MP, welcomed everybody who attended, thanked his colleagues on the committee, and mentioned the contributions from Emma Dalmayne and her great efforts to fight against these harmful fake treatments and cures to protect autistic people.
Other speakers included the Shadow Secretary of State for Health, Jonathan Ashworth; Research Director of Research Autism and Commission member, Richard Mills; Head of Intelligence at the National Food Crime Unit within the Food Standards Agency, Gavan Wafer; and autistic Commission member, Helen Ellis. Helen has made her speech available online via her blog.
The report is short and to-the-point, describing the range of fake cures and treatments (or “harmful interventions” to use the report’s terminology), the people who promote and sell them, and the harm they cause. It recognises the need to identify which official body is responsible for receiving and acting on reports, and for the gaps in existing legislation to be addressed to close loopholes in the protection they are intended to provide.
The Commission calls on the Government to provide a clear picture of the remits of the various agencies and bodies (Trading Standards, NICE, FSA, MHRA, CQC and others) to identify who is responsible for what and to close the gaps. Importantly it calls for a single reporting mechanism for any concerns relating to harmful interventions.
Autistic advocate Kieran Rose interviewed Emma and Barry Sheerman after the launch.
The report launch was also covered by BBC London who ran this piece on the evening news.