The Department of Health and Social Care has announced plans to hold a consultation to seek views on plans to provide mandatory training to NHS staff on making reasonable adjustments for people with learning disabilities.

The news comes just days after campaigner Paula McGowan met with Minster for Care Caroline Dinenage MP and chief nursing officer for England Jane Cummings to discuss the subject. UNITE readers will recognise Paula as the mother of teenager Oliver McGowan, whose death Paula believes could have been prevented had the medical staff present been properly trained to make reasonable adjustments for him.

Caroline Dinenage said: “Every person with a learning disability must receive the same high-quality care you and I would expect. For too long many people with learning disabilities have had their lives tragically cut short, in part because of a lack of understanding about their needs. This must end.

“We will consult on expanding learning disability awareness training so that health and care staff are better equipped to provide compassionate and informed care. Support will be improved to help enhance the lives of people with learning disabilities across the country – anything less is unacceptable.”

The news has been hailed as a good first step to ensuring people with learning difficulties and autism are given the quality of care they deserve, but Mencap’s chief executive Jan Tregelles notes that a higher level of mandatory training for doctors and nurses must be employed to ensure the reasonable adjustments are guaranteed to be met.

“These are very welcome, first steps for all NHS staff to get basic training on how to provide high quality care for people with a learning disability,” said Jan.

“But if the NHS really wants to stop the scandal of the 1,200 preventable deaths of people with a learning disability every year, all nurses and doctors must get higher level training.

“This mandatory training must be in partnership with people with a learning disability and their families, and teach all nurses and doctors how to make reasonable adjustments and understand key laws like the Mental Capacity Act.

“We say to Government – please don’t miss this huge opportunity.”

Read moreFAMILY CHALLENGE GOVERNMENT TO MAKE LEARNING DISABILITY TRAINING FOR DOCTORS MANDATORY

Image: Flickr/NHS Employers

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