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Mandatory training on autism and learning disabilities for all health and social care staff

The Department of Health and Social Care has announced there will be new mandatory training on autism and learning disabilities for all health and social care staff [1]. The decision was prompted by the death of Oliver McGowan who died in 2016 after being given anti-psychotic medication despite having an intolerance to the drugs.

The new training is set to start next year with the aim to improve care for people with autism and learning disabilities. Case studies will be used to ensure all staff understand the needs of patients. Providers should keep up-to-date with the training and be aware of the potential regulatory implications if their staff do not undertake it.

Further, a new independent panel, chaired by Baroness Sheila Hollins, a Professor of Psychiatry and Learning Disability, will be created to oversee the care of children who are in segregation with the aim of expedited discharge .The panel will include a range of experts who will monitor, challenge and advise on the progress of case reviews of those in the most restrictive settings. The expectation is that providers will draw up clear plans towards a discharge date or an explanation for making progress.

These changes follow CQC’s interim report, published earlier this year, on its findings following phase 1 of their ‘Review of restraint, prolonged seclusion and segregation for people with a mental health problem, a learning disability and or autism’ [2]. The interim review concludes that there is an inappropriate use of seclusion and restraint, poor ward environments and poor quality of care which has a damaging impact on patients and staff. The aim is to complete phase 2 and then make recommendations to the Department of Health and Social Care and the wider system in March 2020.

Providers will be aware of the BBC’s Panorama exposing a culture of abuse and human rights breaches in respect of individuals with a learning disability and autism at Whorlton Hall. In response, CQC have produced supporting information for inspectors and managers about how to identify and respond to ‘closed cultures’ in services [3].

This new supporting information is important for providers as it is likely to affect how CQC monitor and inspect services and particularly services who provide care for service users with autism and learning disabilities. CQC have said that the information relates to services in any sector. It is likely to impact on decisions in respect of enforcement action.

The healthcare providers team at RadcliffesLeBrasseur is highly experienced in regulatory matters. Please do not hesitate to contact us, should you have any queries.

Hope Davis-McCallion

  3. full.pdf


This briefing is for guidance purposes only. RadcliffesLeBrasseur LLP accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken or not taken in relation to this note and recommends that appropriate legal advice be taken having regard to a client's own particular circumstances.

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