You may have heard the tragic story of Oliver McGowan. A 18 year old, who loved life, was going to become a Paralympian, who had a wonderful sense of humour and his whole life was in front of him. But sadly on the 11th November 2016 he died in hospital. He was in hospital because he had epileptic seizures. Oliver was known to have a bad reaction to antipsychotic medication, especially Olanzapine. He was in hospital previously and the doctors noted these bad reactions to Olanzapine and it was written in his hospital passport, which he had with him.
But his treating medics believed that he may be very anxious in hospital so they prescribed Olanzapine - against Oliver's and his parents wishes. He died a few days later from Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome - a rare life threatening reaction to neuroleptic medication, of which Olanzapine is one of.
His parents have been fighting for Oliver and to help all the other people whose voice is not listened to. Paula, his mother has been campaigning that all healthcare staff receive mandatory training about learning disabilities, autism and how reasonable adjustments can be made i.e. hospital passports.
In September 2018 NHS England announced that they are making autism and learning disability training mandatory for all NHS staff. #OliversCampaign was a success but it came at a very high price. We are happy to say that Paula is now a member of the steering group who are overseeing this project.
On the 28th November 2018 I was at Learning Disability Today Conference and Exhibition at Olympia. I was there to be raising awareness of Oliver's story and #OliversCampaign. Pavilion Publishing very kindly gave us a free stall at the event. We asked delegates some simple but very important questions and we also put these live on survey monkey for those who could not attend. We were preaching to the converted but we got a great response with over 200 individuals, some with learning disabilities or autism, families and health/social care staff.
You might not be surprised but every person we spoke to said that everyone should have training about autism and learning disabilities. That the training should be delivered face to face and no via e-learning and it should be developed and delivered by autistic people and people with learning disabilities and families.
We were so pleased with the response and it was great to hear everyone's thoughts about this and that we are all speaking the same language when it comes to reasonable adjustments!
We are submitting the responses to the consultation being held by the Department of Health and Social Care and if we have enough time we will write a series of articles and easy read information about what we have done. So we hope to see you at Positive Commitments and Positive Choices Conference in Birmingham in April - if not you can find us on Twitter @PaulaMc007 and @SteveHardyLDN