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Learning disability and autism training for pharmacists must be mandatory


Learning disability and autism training for pharmacists must be mandatory

By Neil Trainis

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has called for all pharmacists to undertake mandatory training to support patients with learning disabilities and autism.

The professional leadership body made its call after responding to a government consultation on the effectiveness of current training standards for health and social care staff under the Oliver McGowan Code of Practice

The Code, named after Oliver McGowan who had a mild learning disability and autism and died at the age of 18 in 2016 after doctors gave him antipsychotic medication despite his family’s warnings it was unsuitable, is the government's preferred and recommended training for health and social care staff.

The consultation, which closes on October 16, examines what training staff need to get to follow the law, the standards the training should follow and why training is important. The RPS said it was not clear what situations additional training would be required and called for guidance or examples of the roles that would need additional training.

Under the Health and Care Act 2022, regulated service providers must ensure staff receive learning disability and autism training and the RPS said that compulsory training should apply to pharmacists as well.

“This training equips healthcare professionals with the right skills and knowledge to provide safe, compassionate and informed care to individuals with autism and learning disabilities,” said the RPS’s head of professional belonging and engagement Amandeep Doll.

“Pharmacists should be an essential part of this training as they are often the first point of contact for these patients and manage their medications every day, ensuring comprehensive care.

“It is vital that pharmacists and everyone who cares for people with learning disabilities and autism in the health and social care system complete this training to uphold their rights and treat them with the utmost respect. The training will increase knowledge and promote a culture of inclusivity within the healthcare system.”

The General Pharmaceutical Council told Independent Community Pharmacist the learning outcomes of its Standards for the Initial Education and Training of Pharmacists "are particularly relevant in terms of pharmacists providing safe, compassionate and informed care to patients and the public."

It added: "The outcomes make it clear that pharmacists must take a variety of needs into account and treat people as individuals, adapting their approach and communication style to meet the needs of the person."



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