Yesterday the Government published its response to the latest report of the Learning Disabilities Mortality Review.
This report sets out a number of recommendations about how to make sure that the NHS understands learning disability better and can support people’s health needs. In particular, it commits to improving staff training and says the Government will work on plans to make learning disability training mandatory.
Recently Anna Kennedy’s guest on her regular Autism Slot on Women’s Radio was Paula McGowan. Paula’s son Oliver died aged 18. She spoke to Anna on how she has fought tirelessly for mandatory training for all NHS staff in learning disabilities & autism. Anna spoke to Paula after the announcement yesterday on the promise from the DoH committed they to do just that. However, just what that training involves will be decided after consultation. Anna Kennedy shares ‘ If it’s basic training it won’t save lives but I believes this is a real opportunity to make a difference to the huge difference in life expectancy between those with a Learning Disability and autism.’
Research shows that people with a learning disability, many of whom are also on the autism spectrum, struggle to get the care they need and this has tragically led to many people dying as in Oliver’s case. This happens because of a lack of understanding and changes to communication and support.
Both Paula and Anna welcome this report.
Anna quotes ‘This is an opportunity to make sure, as the NHS plans its future priorities, that understanding of learning disability and autism is at the heart and is the foundation of good health care and could make a difference to thousands of lives. ‘
You can listen to Paula McGowan’s interview with Anna Kennedy OBE on Women’s Radio Station at 3pm on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week: www.womensradiostation.com