News

Mandatory training in learning disabilities and autism for all NHS nurses

Campaigners say £1.4m package for England is ‘first step in addressing care inequalities’
All NHS nurses in England will have mandatory training in caring for people with learning disabilities and autism

Campaigners say 1.4m package for England is first step in addressing care inequalities

All nurses working in the NHS and social care in England will receive mandatory training in caring for people with learning disabilities and autism from next year.

The training programme, backed by 1.4 million of government funding, will be named in memory of Bristol teenager Oliver McGowan, who had autism and died after being given an antipsychotic drug that caused him to suffer a rare side effect. His parents have campaigned for better staff training since his death in 2016 .

Inequalities in care and premature deaths in people with autism and learning disabilities

His mother, Paula McGowan, said: I believe my son Oliver died an avoidable death, and if the medics looking after him had had a better understanding of his needs,

Campaigners say £1.4m package for England is ‘first step in addressing care inequalities’

All NHS nurses in England will have mandatory training in caring for people with learning disabilities and autism
Picture: iStock

All nurses working in the NHS and social care in England will receive mandatory training in caring for people with learning disabilities and autism from next year.

The training programme, backed by £1.4 million of government funding, will be named in memory of Bristol teenager Oliver McGowan, who had autism and died after being given an antipsychotic drug that caused him to suffer a rare side effect. His parents have campaigned for better staff training since his death in 2016.

Inequalities in care and premature deaths in people with autism and learning disabilities

His mother, Paula McGowan, said: ‘I believe my son Oliver died an avoidable death, and if the medics looking after him had had a better understanding of his needs, it may never have happened.

‘We have never had mandatory training like this before and I believe this is a very important first step in addressing the inequalities of healthcare and premature deaths in people who have autism and learning disabilities.’

A trial of the new training package for all health and social care staff will begin in 2020 and run until March 2021.

Paula McGowan, whose son Oliver, pictured in the background, had autism and died after being given antipsychotic medication
Paula McGowan says her son Oliver, pictured in the background, ‘died an avoidable death’
Picture: John Houlihan

Data on inpatients who have learning disabilities or autism will also be published by the government as part of its commitment to ‘greater transparency’, the Department of Health and Social Care said.

But the chief executive of disability charity Sense, Richard Kramer, said: ‘For many young people with learning disabilities and autism, this is too little, too late.’

Case reviews for mental health hospital inpatients

The mandatory training announcement follows the government’s commitment to review the care of every mental healthcare inpatient with a learning disability or autism over the next 12 months.

Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock said the case reviews for all 2,250 inpatients will mean every individual is given a hospital discharge date or a plan to move them closer towards one.

The decision comes after a report by parliament’s joint committee on human rights, which said mental health legislation must be overhauled to stop the ‘horrific’ and inappropriate detention of young people with autism or learning disabilities.

The report said the human rights of many young people were being breached in mental health hospitals and called for the criteria for detention under the Mental Health Act to be narrowed.


In other news

Sign up to continue reading for FREE

OR

Subscribe for unlimited access

Enjoy 1 month's access for £1 and get:

  • Full access to learningdisabilitypractice.com
  • Bi-monthly digital edition
  • RCNi Portfolio and interactive CPD quizzes
  • RCNi Learning with 200+ evidence-based modules
  • 10 articles a month from any other RCNi journal

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs