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Learning Disability

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 156445, tabled on 21 June 2018

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support the provision of continuing professional development in respect of learning disabilities for all front-line health staff.

Answered on

27 June 2018

Employers have a statutory responsibility to provide sufficient numbers of suitably qualified, competent, skilled and experienced staff to meet the needs of the people using health services, including those with a learning disability.

The Learning Disability Core Skills Education and Training Framework, published in July 2016 sets out the requisite skills and competencies that staff need to deliver care and support to people with a learning disability. The Framework sets out the necessary skills across three tiers. Tier 1, knowledge for roles that require general awareness of learning disabilities; Tier 2, knowledge and skills for roles that will have some regular contact with people with a learning disability and Tier 3, knowledge and skills for those providing care and support for people with a learning disability. Training should be provided in line with this Framework.

Health Education England (HEE) is currently producing eLearning materials to support Tier 1 learning disability awareness training. This free online training will be available to all staff in 2019. HEE will also be writing to all education providers reminding them of the Learning Disability Core Skills Education and Training Framework and ask them to ensure that all staff groups include Tier 1 awareness training as a minimum.

HEE also uses a workforce development fund to support the ongoing development of staff, with spending focused on priority areas, including staff working with people with learning disabilities and/or autism. Examples of the type of development that is supported includes, Positive Behavioural Support, Total Attachment Theory, Leadership programmes, Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction, Learning Disability Mortality, Building the Right Support, Early Positive Approaches to Support, Restraint Reduction, Positive Behavioural Support Workshops for family carers, Forensic learning disabilities skills, Trauma informed care and Autism.

All nurses receive learning disabilities training as part of their pre-registration education. Curricula are set by individual education providers, to standards set by the professional regulators.

Additionally, since April 2015, newly appointed health care assistants, including those who will provide care and support to people with a learning disability have been undergoing training as part of the national implementation of the Care Certificate. The Care Certificate equips new staff with the knowledge and skills which they need to provide safe, compassionate care across a range of areas, including the care of people with a learning disability.

We have committed that there will be a response to each of the recommendations of the Learning Disabilities Mortality Review Programme annual report, including the recommendation on training. The response will be published soon.

Interests declared
The Member has declared that they have interests which may be relevant to the subject matter of this question.