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RPS calls for mandatory pharmacist learning disability and autism training

Autism and learning disability training should be “considered compulsory for all pharmacists”, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has said.  

The RPS has said that it “firmly [believes]” that training on learning disabilities and autism “should be considered compulsory for all pharmacists”, in a statement released earlier this week (September 25).

Currently, the law states that all health and social care staff registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) must receive training on learning disability and autism, according to the RPS.

But it called for such training to be “mandatory for all pharmacists”, saying that there is an “an urgent need for culture change among health and social care staff and a shift in attitude and approach to support people with a learning disability and autistic people safely, respectfully, and confidently”.

Amandeep Doll, RPS head of professional belonging and engagement, highlighted that pharmacists “are often the first point of contact for these patients and manage their medications every day” so they “should be an essential part of this training”.

Responding to a government consultation on the issue, the membership body also said that current draft training guidance is “unclear” and risks being seen as “a tick box exercise”.


Tick box exercise?


In its response to the government’s ongoing consultation on draft guidance around learning disability and autism training, the RPS said that “one-off training would not be sufficient”.

It added that the draft guidance was “missing [information on] …how often the training should be repeated” to cover “any updates or new developments”.

The RPS also said that the training, which should be delivered by “at least one person with a learning disability and one autistic person”, risks misrepresenting people with learning disability or autism. 

And it added that “training providers may see this as a tick box exercise and therefore opt for people they deem ‘easy’ to engage with to deliver the training.”

It also highlighted that the guidance was “unclear” about which situation might mean that further specific training is needed.

Meanwhile, C+D revealed earlier this week that NHS England (NHSE) is funding 1,000 training places for pharmacists to complete face-to-face “medical role play” training.


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