The government has today confirmed that all health and social care staff be legally required to undertake special learning disability or autism training.
Following the conclusion of a consultation, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said every NHS and social care worker will receive mandatory training relevant to their role, as part of a series of new measures to improve the quality of care for those with learning disabilities and autism.
The training will be backed by £1.4 million in funding.
The government will run a series of trials next year to inform a wider roll-out of the training which aims to improve quality of care and life expectancy.
Minister for Care, Caroline Dinenage said: “It is unacceptable that the lives of autistic people or those with a learning disability could be cut short because of barriers in accessing healthcare that most of us take for granted.
“I want to ensure this training provides NHS staff and social care workers with the confidence and skills to understand the needs of those with learning disabilities and autistic people.
“I hope this training and the wider measures announced today will go far in ensuring all autistic people and those with a learning disability are listened to and receive the high-quality care they deserve.”
The training will focus on understanding learning disability; understanding autism; legislation and rights; and making reasonable adjustments such as using different communication methods for autistic people with sensory sensitivities.
The news comes as the DHSC announces a plan of action to review the care of hundreds of mental health inpatients over the next 12 months, and discharge them back into their homes and communities.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said the government will commit to proving each patient with a date for discharge, or where this is not appropriate, an explanation of why and a plan to move them closer towards being ready for discharge.
“For those living with learning disabilities and autistic people, the current system can leave them in isolation for long periods of time, with no prospect of release into the community,” said Hancock.
“I am determined to put this right and today we are committing to reviewing the care of every patient with learning disability and autism over the next 12 months – alongside a clear plan to get them discharged back into their homes and communities. I have also asked for advice on separating out the law regarding those with learning disabilities and autism from the law regarding mental health.”