Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training on Autism and Learning Disability
In November 2019 the government published a consultation on proposals for introducing mandatory learning disability and autism training for all health and social care staff. This response (Right to Be Heard) included a commitment to develop a standardised training package drawing on best practice, the expertise of autistic people, people with a learning disability and family carers as well as subject matter experts.
The training is named after Oliver McGowan whose death shone a light on the need for health and social care staff to have better skills, knowledge and understanding of the needs for autistic people and people with a learning disability. Oliver was admitted to hospital with seizures. Oliver did not have a mental illness or psychosis, but he was given antipsychotic medication against his and his family's wishes. Oliver was intolerant to this medication and died. An independent Learning Disability Mortality Review review of his death identified it was potentially avoidable.
Olivers mother, Paula McGowan (OBE), campaigned for better understanding and training for the health and social care workforce, this resulted in funding being made available in 2021 where three training partners developed and trialled their training packages across health and social care. The training drew on existing best practice, the expertise of people with a learning disability, autistic people and family carers as well as subject matter experts. The National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi) conducted an independent evaluation to understand what worked well. This training is now a mandatory requirement for staff in health and social care, with different training resources depending on whether you directly provide care for autistic people and/or people with a learning disability.