Consultation on mandatory training for health and care staff

The Department of Health and Social Care has published its plans for mandatory learning disability and autism training for all relevant health and care staff in England. 

This welcome move should mean that staff have the training they need to properly support people with autism and/or learning disabilities. There already is a duty in the Autism Act statutory guidance for all health and care staff to have appropriate autism training, but many feel that in reality this often does not happen. The Government’s consultation offers an opportunity to build on provisions in the Act and ensure adults and children are able to access better support.

The consultation will run for eight weeks and honours a commitment from the Minister for Care, Caroline Dinenage MP, during a debate in November 2018. This debate was organised following a petition started by Paula McGowan, after the death of her son in 2016. Paula’s petition now has over 50,000 signatories and the consultation recognises her work and the proposals she has made.

The Government are now seeking the views of autistic people and their families, organisations like our charity as well as professionals about how to implement this mandatory training. They are proposing to:

  • Place further legal requirements on providers to ensure all staff whose role may involve interaction with autistic people have appropriate training, which we would welcome as it would increase accountability. They plan to do so by amending the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 to place duties on employers, which would ensure staff providing services deemed as “Regulated Activities” have autism training at the level required for their role. In addition, they commit to explore with NHS England how the NHS Standard Contract can be used to require providers to ensure staff have autism training at the level required for their role. 
  • Ensure the mandatory training has relevant autism-specific content, such as a focus on reasonable adjustments and improving awareness of existing statutory regulations, which could help to ensure better enforcement of existing legislation.
  • Use the new Autism Core Skills Education and Training Framework, which we are developing alongside Skills for Health and Health Education England, to set out exactly what different levels of training look like in health and care. These will also build on the statutory guidance.  
  • Involve autistic people in the development of this mandatory training. We would also like to see commitments to include autistic people and their families in the delivery of training. 

Closing date 12th April 2019