The Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training in Learning Disability and Autism


On May 12th 2022, the Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training in Learning Disability and Autism was signed into law with royal assent as part of the Government’s Health and Social Care Act 2022. This followed strong support by the Government to legislate for mandatory training across Health and Care sectors.

Oliver McGowanThe training is named after Oliver McGowan – a young, autistic man who tragically died in 2016 after being given anti-psychotic medication in hospital. This was against his own wishes and the wishes of his parents – as he had previously experienced adverse reactions to such medication. His death highlighted the need for a better understanding of autism for Health and Social Care staff and how to adapt their care and support for autistic people.

The training is part of a national commitment to develop a standardised training package and the aim is a better understanding of people’s needs resulting in better services and improved health and wellbeing outcomes.

Prior to being passed into law – a trial for the training was conducted. A panel which included autistic people, people with learning disabilities and family members representing interest groups, representatives from Health Education England, Skills for Care, the Department of Health and Social Care, the Local Government Association, NHS England and NHS Improvement selected the following organisations as trial partners:

  • British Institute of Learning Disabilities (BILD)
  • Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust
  • Royal Mencap Society/National Autistic Society
  • Pathways Associates Community Interest Company

The National Development Team for Inclusion were the independent evaluation partner.

Paula McGowan, OBE, and Tom McGowan, Oliver’s parents – who have campaigned tirelessly throughout - said: “It is hugely significant that Oliver’s training is now mandated in law, ready to be rolled out from 2023 to 3.7 million staff working across health and social care settings. We would like to thank Baroness Hollins and the Government for working together to deliver the commitment made in the 2019 consultation ‘Right to be Heard’ to make Oliver’s training mandatory. This training will save lives and ensure Oliver’s legacy lives on in the delivery of better health and care services for millions of autistic people and people with a learning disability.”

At Social Care TV we welcome this new legislation and hope that it improves the experiences of those with autism and learning disabilities who receive health and social care services.
To learn more about Oliver’s McGowan’s story please go to: Oliver McGowan | Oliver's Campaign