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Nurses are being invited to comment on mandatory learning disability and autism training 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. In England a draft code of practice, detailing how the training is being delivered, is now out for consultation..
Learning Disability Practice. 26, 4, 5-5. doi: 10.7748/ldp.26.4.5.s1
Published: 07 August 2023
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 wrongly held perceptions about people with learning disabilities and/or autism.
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 influence how the training can be improved before the consultation on the code of practice closes on 19 September.
‘As specialists in your field of practice you are in a prime position to influence how training can be improved’
Those of you who have read Oliver’s story over the years will know of the campaign to increase understanding of learning disability and autism in health services. His mother Paula McGowan is now taking her fight to increase awareness about the needs of neurodivergent students in the education sector and has started an online petition.
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 on page 14. And NHS England’s recent workforce plan identified the need for more training opportunities to become learning disability nurses (Analysis, page 6).
I doubt mandatory training will replace the need for you as specialists, but rather it supports the case for there to be more of you.
DHSS: Open Consultation. Oliver McGowan Draft Code of Practice.
UK Governement and Parliament: Petition – Require education staff to be trained on learning disabilities and autism. petition.parliament.uk/petitions/639050