Have your say on learning disability and autism training
Following on from the tragic and unnecessary death of Oliver McGowan in 2016, an amendment was made to the Health and Social Care Act 2008, now the Health and Social Care Act 2022: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2022/31/section/181/enacted, to include mandatory training with respect to “learning disability and autism which is appropriate to the persons role” for all health and social care providers.
Now the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has opened a new consultation regarding the Oliver McGowan training code of practice, which sets out that care providers have to ensure their staff receive learning disability and autism training suitable for their role and exactly what that means.
What providers tell the DHSC about the code will help shape the final version due to be released later this year or early 2024. It is imperative therefore that all social care providers have their say now.
People living with a learning disability and/or autism are more likely to lead shorter lives than other members of the general population – for males about 22 years less and females 26 years living with learning disability and 16 years for people living autism.
In part these early deaths are due to a lack of understanding of the care and support needed by people living with learning disability and/or autism among health and social care professionals. This is evidenced in a report from Learning from Lives and Deaths: People with a Learning Disability and autistic people (LeDeR), https://leder.nhs.uk/, which suggests that in 2021 49% of the deaths of people living with learning difficulty were avoidable.
People living with a learning disability and/or autism also often receive care which does not meet their needs which can be greater and more complex than many health and social care professionals are used to delivering.
The purpose of the Oliver McGowan training is to raise awareness among health and social care staff of the needs of people living with learning disability and/or autism and to help reduce the number of avoidable deaths and improve the care of people like Oliver when they use health and social care services.
The new code covers not only what training different groups of care staff need; it also identifies how the Care Quality Commission (CQC) intend taking it into account at inspections. This means looking for evidence the training has taken place and that its learning is embedded in the culture of the organisation, e.g., in staff knowledge and attitudes towards people living with learning disability and / or autism, as well as any reasonable adjustments made to accommodate their additional needs within the service.
The code also identifies that while the Oliver McGowan mandatory training is the recommended and preferred training, some staff will need additional training in order to fulfil the needs of their role.
The Code is expressed as four standards which cover:
1. The minimum, core capabilities - training all staff must have and that some staff will need ‘proportionate’ training beyond that.
2. The training must explore how staff in a setting might put the training into practice.
3. Staff receive some live training including that which is co-produced and co-delivered by people living with a learning disability and/or autism – this is set at a minimum of 1 hour for non-specialist providers and one day for providers whose care includes people living with a learning disability and/or autism.
4. That the training is evidence-based and quality assured.
Each standard is covered in depth including what this means for the content of the training.
Have your Say
While there is little doubt most providers will welcome this code, some may regard the requirements as excessive, especially if they do not currently provide care to any individuals living with a learning disability and/or autism. The consultation centres around questions of clarity which relate to the code and the impact of its implementation and at Bettal we urge providers to have their voice heard by participating: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/oliver-mcgowan-draft-code-of-practice/oliver-mcgowan-draft-code-of-practice-on-statutory-learning-disability-and-autism-training#annex-c-consultation-questions
Bettal Quality Consultancy has policies, procedures and risk assessments, including those required for the care of people living with learning disability and / or autism, to support registered managers and their teams in the provision of CQC compliant care.
If you would like to know more, browse our website, https://www.bettal.co.uk, or get in touch:
Peter Ellis MA MSc BSc(Hons) RN
Bettal Quality Consultancy