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Oliver McGowan death prompts mandatory autism training

All health and social care workers are to be given mandatory training on autism and learning disabilities after the death of a teenager.

Oliver McGowan, 18, died at Southmead hospital in Bristol in 2016 after being given a drug he was allergic to despite repeat warning from his parents.

The government has announced funding of £1.4m to develop and test the new training package.

Training is not currently mandatory and varies, a government spokesperson said.

The targeted programme will be “named in memory of Oliver McGowan and in recognition of his family’s tireless campaigning for better training for staff” a government spokesperson said.

It will draw on case studies which “capture exactly why NHS and social care staff need learning disability and autism training” the spokesperson said.

An independent review is to be carried out into Oliver McGowan’s death.

Analysis by BBC West Health Correspondent Matthew Hill

Oliver McGowan was young and physically fit. Even though his care notes clearly stated that he was allergic to anti-psychotics, he was given them whilst being treated at Southmead Hospital.

The drugs caused his brain to swell severely and he died in intensive care. His parents obtained a report, carried out by the local Clinical Commissioning Group which found his death was potentially avoidable.

CCG bosses subsequently intervened to take out this damning finding.

Oliver’s family’s one consolation is that other parents will be listened to in future.

The announcement by the Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, also confirmed all 2,250 people with a learning disability and autism who are inpatients in mental health hospitals will have their care reviewed over the next 12 months.

For those in long term segregation an independent panel, chaired by Baroness Sheila Hollins, will oversee their case reviews to improve their care and help support them move back into the community as quickly as possible.

A series of trials is due to run in 2020 before a wider roll-out of the training which aims to improve quality of care and life expectancy.

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BBC News – Health