New law on mandatory learning disability and autism training

From 1 July 2022, CQC registered health and care providers will be required to ensure that all staff receive training in how to interact appropriately with people who have a learning disability and autistic people, appropriate to their role.

This new legal requirement was introduced by the Health and Care Act 2022. It applies to all providers irrespective of the type of service – whether in an acute hospital, dentist practice, GP surgery, or a place where people live.

CQC has updated its statutory guidance on compliance with Regulation 18 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 in two areas.

It now provides that:

  • “Providers must ensure that all staff receive training in how to interact appropriately with people with a learning disability and autistic people, at a level appropriate to their role.”
  • “Staff must receive appropriate supervision in their role to ensure they demonstrate and maintain competence in understanding the needs of people with a learning disability and autistic people, including knowing how to support them in the best way.”

Providers can expect a new Code of Practice for specialist training on learning disability and autism although it is anticipated that this will take at least 12 months before it is published.  

Comment

As with any change like this, providers should expect CQC to be paying particular attention to compliance in this area during inspections. CQC will want to see evidence of suitable training and continuing monitoring. They will also be looking to see that training is having a positive material impact on the care being provided too. Providers will need to demonstrate that staff have:

  1. received suitable training, including in learning disability and autism, at a level appropriate to their role;
  2. that it is refreshed at suitable intervals; and
  3. that competency is monitored following training

The change to the guidance does not reflect a change in the law, so we expect CQC to continue to have in mind that the statutory requirement is for training necessary to enable staff to “carry out the duties they are employed to perform” and to inspect with this in mind.

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