Learning disability nurses' input is vital on training consultation
Consultation on the Oliver McGowan draft code of practice on mandatory learning disability and autism training is open and specialist nurses need to contribute
Nurses are being invited to comment on mandatory learning disability and autism training recently introduced for NHS health and social care staff.
The Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training in Learning Disability and Autism covers England and there is a separate training programme by the Welsh Government in memory of Paul Ridd, who died in hospital in 2009 aged 53.
A draft code of practice has also been produced which will look at how the mandatory training is delivered in England.
Challenging perceptions about people with learning disabilities and/or autism
Although you may be doing or have done the training, it is not directed at learning disability nurses, but instead aims to challenge and change some of the basic and wrongly held perceptions about people with learning disabilities and/or autism that exist in society at large and have blighted care for years. You, as learning disability nurses, will have been challenging perceptions all your working lives.
Nevertheless as specialists in your field of practice you are in a prime position to have your say on how the training can be improved before the consultation closes on 19 September.
Those of you who have read Oliver’s story over the years in this journal will know of the campaign to increase understanding of learning disability and autism in health services.
- RELATED: Oliver McGowan: mother wants compulsory learning disabilities training to be her son's legacy
His mother Paula McGowan, a teacher, is now taking her fight to increase awareness about the needs of neurodivergent students in the education sector and has started an online petition.
I first heard Ms McGowan speak at the Positive Choices conference in Birmingham in 2019. It was one of the most profoundly moving stories I have ever heard.
Mandatory training should support the case for more specialists
Learning disability nurse consultant Jim Blair recently told MPs that people with learning disabilities and specialist nurses need to be in positions of authority to make change happen and that is covered in his comment piece Health inequalities: change can only happen with a shift in power.
And NHS England’s recent workforce plan identified the need for more training places as outlined in our analysis NHS workforce plan: what’s in it for nursing and future students?
I doubt mandatory training will replace the need for you as specialists, rather it supports the case for there to be more of you.