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Oliver McGowan learning disability training live for all nurses

Training named after the teenager, who died after being given unsuitable antipsychotic medication, will empower nurses to address health inequalities

Training named after the teenager, who died after being given unsuitable antipsychotic medication, will empower nurses to address health inequalities

All nurses can now access the Oliver McGowan mandatory training programme following a long campaign to improve the care for people with a learning disability and/or autism.

The training is named after Oliver McGowan, who died in 2016 after being given antipsychotic medication, despite warnings that they were unsuitable for him.

Training named after the teenager, who died after being given unsuitable antipsychotic medication, will empower nurses to address health inequalities

Paula McGowan campaigned to improve the care of people with a learning disability and/or autism after the death of her teenage son Oliver (inset)
Paula McGowan campaigned to improve the care of people with a learning disability and/or autism after the death of her teenage son Oliver (inset). Picture: John Houlihan

All nurses can now access the Oliver McGowan mandatory training programme following a long campaign to improve the care for people with a learning disability and/or autism.

The training is named after Oliver McGowan, who died in 2016 after being given antipsychotic medication, despite warnings that they were unsuitable for him.

Hope that training empowers nurses to make reasonable adjustments for patients

Following the teenager’s death, Oliver’s mother Paula launched a campaign to make training mandatory for all health and care staff in England. The programme went live for all nurses on 1 November.

It is hoped the training will empower staff to challenge preconceptions and make reasonable adjustments for their patients, help address health inequalities, lead to better interactions, fewer incidents of inequality and even avoidable deaths.

‘This is a vital step forward in ensuring that people with a learning disability and autistic people receive the right levels of care that are appropriate for their needs,’ said Health Education England’s chief nurse Mark Radford.

‘Following the tragedy of Oliver’s death, Paula McGowan has tirelessly campaigned to ensure that Oliver’s legacy is that all health and care staff receive this critical training. Paula and many others have helped with the development of the training from the beginning.’

The first part of the Oliver McGowan mandatory training is now ready to be accessed following a two-year trial, which involved 8,300 health and care staff across England. The training comes in two tiers, with the 90-minute eLearning module for Tier 1 compulsory for all staff.

Mother ‘takes comfort’ knowing that son’s death has resulted in positive change

Tier 2 is for people who may need to provide direct care and support for autistic people or people with a learning disability and will include a one-day face-to-face training session offered next year.

Ms McGowan added: ‘I take comfort in knowing that the death of my teenage son Oliver has resulted in a positive change as a direct consequence, something which will resonate with many and is deeply meaningful to me.

‘I have been humbled to observe all health and care colleagues working collaboratively to strive for this change.

‘There is more work to be done, but the journey has now started, and I truly believe we are on the right trajectory to achieve better health and care outcomes for neurodivergent people.’


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Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training on Learning Disability and Autism


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