Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training: providing the health and care workforce with the right skills

The Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training Framework for Learning Disability and Autism has now been officially launched and should be accessed by all health and social care services.

The Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training Framework is available for all health and care professionals to undertakeThe new training framework has been specifically designed to provide those working in health and social care with the right skills and knowledge to provide safe, compassionate and informed care for people with a learning disability or autism.

First Response Training, a national leading training provider, are proud and excited to be among the first providers in the country to be able to offer this essential training.

What is the Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training Framework?

Following years of campaigning by Oliver McGowan’s family, the Health and Care Act 2022 introduced the requirement for all regulated CQC registered service providers to ensure that their staff receive appropriate training regarding learning disabilities and autism. The Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training Framework has been identified as the government’s preferred and recommended training for health and social care staff to undertake.

The Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training Framework for Learning Disabilities and Autism is a standardised package co-developed by Health Education England (HEE) and Skills for Care. It has been trialled with over 8,300 health and social care staff and independently evaluated by the National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi).

Most importantly, the training has been designed, delivered and evaluated with the help of people who have learning disabilities and/or autism.

What does the Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training framework involve?

The Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training Framework includes a mandatory elearning element for all learnersThe framework encompasses two different tiers of training and it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure their staff undergo the level of mandatory training which is appropriate to their role.

Tier 1 of the framework is designed for health and care workers who require only a general awareness of the support people with learning disabilities or autism may need. It may be adequate for frontline staff if people currently using the service do not have a learning disability or autism. Generally, it will apply to staff who do not have patient-facing roles or do not make decisions about people who use the service, such as administrators, on-site facilities or finance assistants.

Tier 2 of the framework is designed for health and care staff with responsibility for providing care and support for people who have a learning disability and/or autism. It includes anyone who may be required to make decisions about the people who use care and support services.

An elearning package forms the first part of the Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training programme, and this has now been launched by HEE and their partners at the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and Skills for Care. It must be completed by all learners whether they are completing Tier 1 or Tier 2 of the framework.

The elearning is free and available via the elfh. NHS healthcare staff can access it via the ESR.

Following the elearning, Tier 1 learners will then complete a 60-minute live online webinar session, while Tier 2 learners will complete a 6-hour, classroom-based training course.

Following initial trials, evaluations clearly showed the importance and benefit of including people with real, lived experience in the training. As a result, both Tier 1 (webinar) and Tier 2 (classroom) training sessions will be delivered by a trio of trainers. An experienced subject matter trainer will lead and facilitate delivery, supported by a person with autism and a person with a learning disability, known as ‘Experts by Lived Experience.’

The framework is now available as a training category on the Adult Social Care Workforce Data Set (ASC-WDS), with the elearning, Tier 1 and Tier 2 training elements all included.

This enables employers to record and track which staff have completed the mandatory training and provide evidence of its completion during inspections.

Why is the Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training framework required?

The Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training Framework for Learning Disabilities and Autism marks a vital step forward in the care and support of people with a learning disability and/or autism.

Research indicates that, on average, people with a learning disability or an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) die earlier than the general public and that they do not receive the same quality of care as people without a learning disability or ASD.

Oliver McGowan tragically died in 2016 aged just 18The campaign for the mandatory framework has been largely spearheaded by Oliver McGowan’s parents, Paula and Thomas, following his tragic and preventable death in 2016.

As an infant, Oliver suffered meningitis and received diagnoses of mild hemiplegia, focal partial epilepsy, a mild learning disability and high functioning autism. As a teenager, with several sporting accomplishments under his belt, Oliver began to train as a Paralympian.

In 2005, Oliver experienced seizures and was admitted to hospital, where he was given antidepressants. He as readmitted later that year when his seizures worsened.

Despite having no diagnoses of psychosis or any other mental health disorder, Oliver was held against his will and given antipsychotic medication. This had a hugely negative impact on his mood and doctors noted that Oliver was sensitive to antipsychotic medication.

Once this medication was removed, both Oliver’s mood and his seizures returned to normal.

In April of the following year, Oliver was admitted again with partial seizures. Again, antipsychotics were administered, and Oliver suffered a range of distressing side effects. It was believed his symptoms were behavioural and Oliver was moved to a specialist adult hospital where staff restrained him, prescribed him further antipsychotic medication and failed to provide him with any privacy.

Oliver was then transferred to a Psychiatric Intensive Care unit where he received support from a specialist learning disability team who immediately recognised that he did not need to be detained – they removed all antipsychotic medication from his treatment plan.

In October of that year, Oliver experienced a cluster of partial seizures and was admitted to a general hospital. Staff sedated Oliver and, again, administered antipsychotic medication. He became very unwell and staff then suspected a life-threatening reaction to the antipsychotic medication.

After a week on life support treatment, Oliver died on 11th November 2016. He was just 18 years old.

A campaign for meaningful change

Oliver’s family launched Oliver’s Campaign in a bid to drive meaningful improvements in healthcare and have urged practitioners to: “Do everything in your power to prevent a story like Oliver’s from having to be told again.”

They have campaigned tirelessly for years because they believe that Oliver’s tragic and premature death “should be in the public’s interest.”

His parents explain: “We believe that Oliver’s death was very preventable. We believe that Oliver was given excessive drugs due to medical staff not understanding autism impacted by seizure activity. They did not ever try to adapt the environment to meet his needs but used excessive restraint methods. They failed to make any communication with community-based professionals who were working with Oliver on a daily basis and knew him well.”

They want to ensure that those providing care, support and treatment for people with a learning disability or autism work in accordance with the following:

  • Put people at the heart of all decision making
  • Respect their point of view
  • Do not make decisions without them

Approved to deliver the framework

First Response Training (FRT) is a leading, national training provider. They deliver over 7,000 courses each year in the fields of health and safetyfirst aidfire safetyfood safetymental healthhealth and social care and other special focus topics.

Their diverse portfolio includes training awards designed for health and social care organisations, such as Infection Control and PreventionSafeguarding AdultsDuty of CareEquality, Diversity and InclusionPerson Centred Care and Support and many others.

Their course portfolio spans Care Certificate standards, Level 2 and Level 3 Awards and training for supervisors and managers.

FRT are approved to deliver Tier 1 and Tier 2 of the Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training Framework for Learning Disabilities and Autism with HEE trained trios.

The leading training provider, which works with many large and national learning disability care providers, have partnered with two charitable organisations to source Experts by Lived Experience for their delivery teams.

Your IdeasYour Ideas Youth and Community Project have partnered with us on the delivery of Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training are a non-profit youth and community organisation based in Redditch, Worcestershire. They support a range of young people and adults from a variety of backgrounds, specialising in supporting young people and adults on the Autistic Spectrum. All of FRT’s experts with lived autism experience are members of the Your Ideas project.

In addition, FRT have also partnered with Macintyre Charity. MacIntyre provide learning, support and MacIntyre have partnered with us on the delivery of Oliver McGowan Mandatory Trainingcare for more than 1,200 children, young people and adults who have a learning disability and / or autism. Their vision is simple, they want all people with a learning disability to live a life that makes sense to them. All of FRT’s experts with lived experience of a learning disability are supported by MacIntyre.

The Facilitating Trainers, or subject matter experts, have been handpicked from FRT’s team of over 100 highly qualified and experienced trainers. They combine relevant, personal experience with professional understanding and HEE training.

Amy Ridge, General Manager and Director of Service Delivery at FRT, says: “We are incredibly proud to be able to deliver the Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training Framework for Learning Disabilities and Autism, with Trainer Trios trained and approved by HEE.

“It follows years of committed campaigning by Oliver’s family, but this framework will now revolutionise training for those who work with and support individuals with learning disabilities and/or Autistic Spectrum Disorders.

“Hopefully it will also revolutionise outcomes for the people accessing services and ensure that no one else has to experience what Oliver did.

“I urge anyone in health and care to make this training a top priority, and to get in touch with us as soon as possible.”

FRT can also offer Train the Trainer training in delivery of the Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training Framework. These courses will upskill in-house trainers to become Subject Matter Experts and deliver Tier 1 and/or Tier 2 training to other learners, alongside Experts by Lived Experience.

You can download the brochure here.

For more information, please call freephone 0800 310 2300 or send an e-mail to info@firstresponsetraining.com.