The Member of Parliament for Kingswood Chris Skidmore recently met with local campaigner and mum Paula McGowan to discuss the Learning Disabilities Mortality Review (LeDeR) report, carried out to identify how the care of people with learning disabilities could be improved in the future.
The review followed the tragic death of Paula McGowan’s son Oliver in November 2016 at Southmead Hospital. Just eighteen at the time, Oliver had an adverse reaction to the anti-psychotic medication Olanzapine. Oliver had autism and a mild learning disability, and his family had explained to the staff that he had previously experienced an allergic reaction to the same drug. His parents believe that the health care team’s lack of awareness and training on these conditions was a contributory cause in his death.
Paula has since been campaigning for health care professionals to receive mandatory training on autism and learning disabilities, leading a petition backed by thousands of people which was then debated in Parliament last October. MP Chris Skidmore spoke in that debate and has been working with Paula since after her son passed away, supporting her in her campaign and efforts to call for an investigation into Oliver’s death.
Following the meeting with Paula, local MP Chris Skidmore said: “It was a pleasure to meet with Paula again to discuss the great progress her campaign is making, as well as the results of the LeDeR review.
I was encouraged to see that following the debate in Parliament, the Government has now committed to providing learning disability training for all relevant NHS staff in England. This is a step in the right direction and will help ensure that people with autism and learning disabilities can get the best possible health care and support.
I also welcome the public consultation on proposals to introduce mandatory learning disability training for all health and care staff and look forward to the results after it closes in mid-April.”
Paula said of the meeting: “I was delighted to update local MP Chris Skidmore on the results of Oliver’s LeDeR report, and to hear of his continued commitment and interest in making sure that lessons can be learned from what happened to Oliver, so that autistic people and those who have learning disabilities can benefit from a fairer healthcare system in the future”.
The Government’s public consultation on learning disability and autism training is still open and further details and information on how to respond can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/learning-disability-and-autism-training-for-health-and-care-staff