Health and care staff are to undergo mandatory training on learning disabilities and autism after a mother’s campaign in memory of her tragic son.
Mandatory Oliver McGowan training on learning disabilities and autism will help staff care for and support people with learning disabilities and people with autism.
The training is named after Oliver McGowan, who died in 2016 after being given antipsychotic drugs, despite being warned they weren’t right for him, pointing to a lack of understanding of the needs of people with learning disabilities or people autistic.
Oliver’s mother, Paula McGowan, successfully launched a campaign to make learning disability and autism care training mandatory for all health and care staff.
Paula said: “I take comfort in knowing that the death of my teenage son Oliver has brought positive change as a direct result, something that will resonate with many and is deeply meaningful to me.
“I was honored to watch all health and care colleagues working together to fight for this change.
“There is still work to be done, but the journey has now begun, and I truly believe we are on the right trajectory to achieve better health and care outcomes for neurodivergent people.”
The innovative training was developed from the outset with the expertise of people with learning disabilities and people with autism as well as their families and carers.
The first part of mandatory Oliver McGowan training is ready to go after a two-year trial that involved 8,300 health and care staff across England.
Participating staff saw an increase in their knowledge, skills and communication with people with autism and people with learning disabilities after completing the training.
Mark Radford, Chief Nursing Officer at Health Education England and Deputy Chief Nursing Officer (England) said: “The introduction of the mandatory Oliver McGowan learning and disability training is an essential step in ensuring that people with a disability learning and people with autism receive the level of care appropriate to their needs.
“Following the tragedy of Oliver’s death, Paula McGowan campaigned tirelessly to ensure Oliver’s legacy is that all health and care staff receive this essential training.
“Paula and many others have contributed to the development of the training from the start.
“Making Oliver’s training mandatory will ensure that the skills and expertise needed to provide the best care for people with learning disabilities and people with autism are available across all health and care sectors.”
The Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training provide staff with the right information to make reasonable adjustments and challenge their preconceptions about autism and learning disabilities.
Better knowledge of learning disabilities and autism will ensure that care and support can be better tailored to people’s needs and should lead to better interactions and outcomes and fewer incidents of inequity and preventable deaths. for people with learning disabilities and people with autism when they need care.
The Health and Care Act 2022 introduced a requirement that regulated service providers registered with the CQC must ensure that their staff receive training on learning disabilities and autism relevant to their role.
Steve Barclay, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said: “Thanks to the campaigning and determination of Paula McGowan, from today health and social care staff will begin to have access to mandatory Oliver McGowan training, to ensure they have the skills and knowledge to better meet the care and support needs of people with learning disabilities and people with autism.
“What happened to Oliver was a tragedy – this training is an essential next step in addressing existing health inequalities for people with autism and people with learning disabilities, by providing them with the appropriate care and support. in health and care facilities.
Mandatory Oliver McGowan training – which has been developed in partnership with Health Education England, Department for Health and Social Care, Skills for Care and NHS England – was launched yesterday (1 November) for staff in the health and care sector care can access it.
The training comes in two levels and is designed to ensure staff receive the correct level of mandatory training.
The first part, the e-learning module, is required for levels 1 and 2 of the mandatory Oliver McGowan training and is now online.
Level 1 has been designed for staff who need general support awareness that people with autism or people with a learning disability may need, while Level 2 is for people who may need provide care and support for people with autism or people with a learning disability.
All staff will complete the 1 hour and 30 minute online learning module, which includes learning from people with autism and people with learning disabilities, their carers, family members and learning experts. matter.
Those who complete Level 1 will then be required to participate in a 60-minute interactive online session, while those who complete Level 2 will be required to attend a one-day face-to-face training session co-facilitated by trainers who have lived experience with learning disabilities and autism.
These sessions are expected to be available from early 2023 and have been designed to provide people with learning disabilities and people with autism with employment opportunities within the delivery team.
Tom Cahill, NHS Director for Learning Disabilities and Autism, said: ‘Oliver McGowan’s mandatory training provides a real opportunity to ensure that staff working across the NHS better understand the needs of people autism and people with learning disabilities and is able to make reasonable adjustments necessary to support patients and ensure they receive the best possible care.
Oonagh Smyth, Managing Director of Skills for Care, said: “The launch of the e-learning package for Oliver McGowan’s mandatory Learning Disabilities and Autism training is an important development to help people access essential training and help reduce inequalities for people with learning disabilities and people with autism.
“We have worked together with partners to ensure that this training program means that people who work in health and social care are equipped and feel confident to support people with learning disabilities. and people with autism.
Simon Gregory, medical director of primary and integrated care at Health Education England, said: We know that health outcomes and life expectancy are worse for people with a learning disability, and that’s a serious concern for us.
“GPs and GP teams all have a responsibility to support people with learning disabilities and people with autism.
“The Oliver McGowan training is an excellent resource to help us provide quality and equitable care.”