Staff meeting

New Oliver McGowan training improves staff outcomes

A study has revealed that a trial of learning disability and autism training has had a positive impact on health and care staff’s knowledge, skills and confidence.

In 2019, the government committed to testing a standardised training package on learning disabilities and autism. The training, known as the Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training, has since been developed and implemented by Health Education England (HEE).

The training is named after Oliver McGowan, a boy who died in 2016 after hospital staff gave him antipsychotic drugs.

Key findings were presented to an online event of over 650 people after the two-year trial was delivered to more than 8,300 health and care staff.

Senior Responsible Officer for Health Education England, Philippa Spicer said: “Today’s event is the next milestone for the Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training programme. These results highlight areas that have worked really well and others that can be developed further, and the trial gives us a range of evidence that will inform and shape the next steps for the training.

“It has been inspiring to read feedback from participants demonstrating how the training has had a positive impact on their understanding of learning disabilities and autism – and how they have since applied it in their day-to-day work.”

The research also showed that the training also had a positive impact on the participants’ understanding and awareness of learning disabilities and autism, including information to support making reasonable adjustments and giving them the confidence to challenge poor practice.

Minister for Care and Mental Health Gillian Keegan said: “It was brilliant to come together with Health Education England, Paula McGowan OBE, Dame Caroline Dinenage and hundreds of attendees to celebrate the end of the training trials.

“The Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training will help people with learning disabilities and autism get the right care at the right time.

"This has been a collaborative effort, and we will work together with partners to develop a training package that is taken up by the health and social care sector."

The training was designed and delivered in collaboration with people with learning disabilities and autism, and industry experts, which purportedly had a major positive impact on participants – with the authenticity and power of the sessions noted specifically.

More information about the trial is available here.

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