I WAS pleased to note your report on autism awareness (“ Nurse was in 40s when told she has autism”, The Herald, April 2). However, the diagnosis does not mean that there will be understanding from medical personnel in Scotland.

Since 2003 Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has been included in the Mental Health Act and this means that those diagnosed can be forced to take health-destroying and life-shortening drugs.

At the same time there is an acknowledgement that this is a developmental disorder, with the rest of the world investigating and treating the many underlying, possibly causative, conditions that are known to produce the behaviour that is labelled ASD.

A very recent report from Queen Mary University in London highlights the lack of access to health care and the lack of up-to-date understanding of the medical and metabolic conditions associated with these conditions and recommends a total change in the current discriminatory approach that exists in the NHS where access to specialists other than psychiatrist and psychologists is commonly refused.

At a meeting with Shona Robison, at that time Shadow Health Minster, our organisation, Autism Rights, suggested that a core of specialists, such as neurologists, gastroenterologists and so on, dedicated to keeping abreast to the links with ASD in their field, would comprise a peripatetic team, who would in turn educate local teams. Ms Robison seemed enthusiastic at the time, but of course nothing has been done.

The UK Government made a rapid response to the Queen Mary report (including appointing an autism commissioner) as they did with the exposure of the Winterbourne View hospital abuse, but we have had no response from the Scottish Government, except to refuse to take people with ASD out of the Mental Health Act and to refuse to implement the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommendations of May 2015, to avoid antipsychotics in ASD.

Nicola Sturgeon's promise of more money for mental health does not mean that they will investigate the underlying medical conditions in those with ASD, but it is very clear that it means more of the life-destroying drugs for those diagnosed in Scotland.

A clear commitment to training, such as the conference being held at Brunel University by Treating Autism this coming June, might give some confidence to parents and patients that attitudes were changing.

Christine MacVicar,

Garthdee, Millbrae, Bridge of Weir.