Mental Health

July 21, 2023

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The Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training: improving services for people with autism and learning disabilities

CHS Healthcare recently hosted the latest edition of our webinar series: ‘The Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training: improving services for people living with autism and learning disabilities’.

The focus of the webinar was the importance of The Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training, which aims to equip health and care staff with the skill and knowledge needed to provide safe care for people with learning disabilities or who have autism. The webinar was led by Paula McGowan, OBE and Philippa Spicer, NHS England Senior Responsible Officer for Learning Disability and Autism and Transition Director. Following the tragic and avoidable death of her youngest child Oliver, Paula has dedicated her life to campaigning and the uptake of this training.

While progress has been made, more is needed, in 2021, 49% of deaths were rated as ‘avoidable’ for people with a learning disability. This compares to 22% for the general population. This stark statistic highlights the importance of Paula’s work and her determination to use Oliver’s tragic story as a case for change.

Paula and Phillipa’s work has led to the Health and Care Act 2022 introducing a new requirement. All regulated service providers must now ensure their staff receive training on learning disability and autism which is appropriate to the person’s role. During our webinar Paula and Phillipa discussed the training in detail, and the next steps for systems, services, and staff.

Key points discussed included:

The importance of knowledge and understanding when working with vulnerable people

Deep understanding and knowledge from all staff when caring for people living with autism or learning disabilities is vital. Requirements of care are unique for every individual depending on their needs and condition. The Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training ensures that staff have the skills required to provide improved healthcare to vulnerable people that can meet their needs.

Empathy from healthcare professionals is imperative when working alongside families and caregivers. This supports a holistic approach to care and provides individuals with confidence and trust in the system.

Implementation of the Code of Practice

A Code of Practice is currently being drafted as per the requirement of the Health and Care Act 2022. This new code will provide services with information on how to implement the Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training. The code has now been published for consultation with the aim of roll out by December 2023. It will include information on the training content, delivery, evaluation and monitoring, and how it will be accredited.

Inequalities and LeDer

Avoidable deaths of people with learning disabilities are higher than those in the general population. This is a fact that must be addressed. To identify these inequalities in LeDeR, the training workforce needs to be representative of the population it serves with a focus on intersectionality. A task and finish group supporting the development of the Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training has been set up to develop and deliver this change.

At CHS, we were moved by the presentation and Paula’s commitment to making positive change, and it’s fair to say this feeling was shared amongst our viewers given the feedback we received following the live event. It has reinforced the importance of understanding patient needs and communication with families and caregivers.

One attendee stated that the webinar, “was an informative session and an eye opener for profession to continue to develop their listening skills, collaborative care and co-production of care delivery.”

Another attendee stated “It was emotive and quite an empowering that raised a lot of issues with equitable service delivery in Health and Social Care”

We must all listen to Oliver’s story. We must also ensure that this insight informs how we interact and truly listen to those people in our society who don’t always have a voice. Take action now to help change the trajectory of inequalities in LeDeR and together we can prevent the many avoidable deaths like Oliver’s from happening again.

In addition to Paula and Philippa’s astounding efforts to improve healthcare for people living with autism and learning disabilities, a petition has been created to improve the education system for neurodivergent students. Every neurodivergent student should be able to get the education they need but unfortunately many are being failed and denied the most basic support, or adjustments at school.

You can make a difference and join us in signing a petition to get the Government to pass into law that all staff in educational settings must be trained on learning disabilities and autism.

Sign the petition here

As a reminder, this webinar was not recorded for distribution however if you would like to learn more about Oliver’s story, and Paula’s fight for change you can head to The Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training

CHS Healthcare provide LeDeR reviews with an aim to address the inequalities in LeDeR.

If you would like to find out how we can support your teams, please get in touch.

As originally seen on LinkedIn

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