We believe all doctors and nurses need the right training to make sure people with a learning disability get the best possible healthcare. 

But our research shows that 1 in 4 healthcare professionals has never been given training about learning disability. This is unacceptable.
The Government's commitment to introduce the Oliver McGowan mandatory learning disability and autism training for all health and social care staff is an important step in helping to change this. 

Since we launched our Treat Me Well campaign in February 2018, we've called loud and clear for nurses and doctors to get the training they urgently need.

This was also one of the recommendations in the 2018 report from the Learning Disabilities Mortality Review (LeDeR), and was the central call of Paula McGowan’s Parliamentary petition.

We've been campaigning alongside Paula, whose son, Oliver, died in hospital in 2016. You can read her story here.

Click the sections below to find out more about the consultation , the government's announcement.

The consultation

In response to calls from campaigners, the Government agreed that all relevant NHS staff should be trained about learning disability.

They held a consultation on this with the public between February and April 2019. 

The results of the consultation have informed what the Government plan to do next, and how they roll out learning disability training to NHS staff in England.

The Government's announcement

On 5 November 2019 the Government announced the results of the consultation.

  • all health and social care staff will receive training on autism and learning disability
  • trials will begin in NHS and social care settings, supported by £1.4million of Government funding
  • a training package will be named after Oliver McGowan, who died in 2016
  • every NHS and social care worker will receive mandatory training relevant to their role
  • they will run a series of trials early next year to test the new training package, ahead of a wider roll-out.

These actions will aim to improve the quality of care people with a learning disability and/or autism receive, as well as helping to close the health inequality gap.

The Government's announcement comes as new statistics show that people with a learning disability are more likely to die before the age of 75 than any other member of the public. The Government's announcement was an important step in bringing about a fairer healthcare system for people with a learning disability.


The Oliver McGowan mandatory learning disability and autism training

The Oliver McGowan mandatory training in learning disability and autism logo

In July 2020 Health Education England and Skills for Care announced that Mencap, along with National Autistic Society and partners we are working with, have been selected as one of the delivery partners for trialling the Oliver McGowan mandatory training in learning disability and autism for health and care staff. 

In delivering the training we will be working alongside a range of expert partner organisations and individuals, as well as our colleagues with lived experience. Together we want to ensure that everyone with a learning disability and autism gets the healthcare treatment they deserve and have a right to.

Our partners 

Our partners include:

Royal College of Nursing (RCN)

The RCN is a trade union and professional body supporting 450,000 nurses, midwives, Health Care Assistants, Assistant Practitioners and students.

Jeremy, Bethany’s Dad

Jeremy is a campaigner, family member, public speaker and trainer, focussing on transformation of support for people with a learning disability and/or autism. He is currently co-chairing NHS England’s Parent Council within its Taskforce to drive improvements in young people’s hospital mental health, learning disability and autism care.

Challenging Behaviour Foundation (CBF)

CBF is a charity working UK wide to support people with severe learning disabilities whose behaviour is described as challenging, and all who support them.

Edge Training

Edge was set up in 2008 to deliver high quality training on specialist areas of health and social care law and practice. The organisation undertakes training for various groups including Approved Mental Health Professionals (AMHPs), Best Interests Assessors and Approved Clinicians.

Be Well Learning and Development

Be Well are a training consultancy based in north west England, and provide a wide range of learning disability, autism and mental health training.

Find out more

If you'd like to find out more about the training and what our role will be please take a look at our frequently asked questions page.

Watch our video

Hear what we have to say following the Government's announcement on mandatory learning disability and autism training for health and social care staff in England.

Donate to help keep us campaigning

You can support us by sending in a donation. This will help us run our campaigns, including Treat me well, and make sure we can have an even bigger impact.

We really appreciate all your support.


Find out more

If you have any questions please contact our campaigns team at campaigns@mencap.org.uk.

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