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Health Q&As

On this page, you can find answers to your questions regarding health for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).

All the questions have been submitted by local parents and answered by Local Authority staff. Click on a question to read the response.  

Where can I find out about health and therapy services?

Many health and therapy services provided by the National Health Service or the council can be found on the Health section of the Local Offer website. This includes the child development services, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, mental health services, educational psychology and community nursing among others.

If you can’t find the information you are looking for about a particular health or therapy service you think your child needs, you should speak to a health professional involved in your child’s care (e.g. a GP or health visitor). They will be able to advise you on whether a service exists and how you can access it. 

I think my child suffers from mental ill health. What should I do?

If you are concerned your child suffers from a mental health problem, you should discuss this with one of the health, education or social care professionals supporting them. This might be GP, school teacher or social worker. If they share your concerns, they should refer your child to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) which consists of specialist mental health professionals. Depending on your child’s needs, they may be able to offer a range of therapies and approaches.

Schools also to put in place measures to support the emotional and mental health needs of their students. The council provides training to all maintained schools in the borough to ensure they are equipped to support children and young people with mental ill-health.

Children and young people aged (11-25) may also make use of the free online counselling service, Kooth.

For more information, please visit the Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health section on the Local Offer. 

What is a hospital passport?

A hospital passport is a document that helps health professionals working in hospitals understand the needs of a child, young person or adult with communication difficulties. This might include important information about their medical history (e.g. if they have any allergies), what the best way is to communicate with the person, any important notes about their personal care requirements, what they like and do not like, and so on. It can be a good idea to work with your child to fill in a hospital passport when they attend their first appointment at a hospital or have to be admitted. Health professionals can help you to do this.

Many hospitals have a hospital passport system, including Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Trust and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. If you have a passport from one hospital, you may use it at any other hospital. This means that you do not have to fill in multiple passports when going to different hospitals.

Click here for information on Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Trust’s Hospital Passport

Click here for information on Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust’s Hospital Passport

Is it possible to arrange home visits from GPs and dentists?

If you or your child would find it especially difficult to attend a GP or dentist appointment in person, they may be able to arrange to see you at home. To check whether this is possible, it is best to call your GP or dentist practice.

Sometimes you will find it difficult to take your child or young person to see a GP or dentist because of the environment, and the stress the situation might cause. To make your visits easier, GPs and dentists are legally required to offer reasonable adjustments. This might mean offering to see you and your child at a quieter time, giving you a double appointment so you have more time, or ensuring you do not have to spend any time in the waiting area. Call your GP or dentist to see how they can make it easier for you and your child to attend.  

My child is over 18 – can I still attend medical appointments with him?

When your child turns 18, they become an adult. Whether you, as their parent, automatically continue to be involved in their care, depends to a large extent on your child’s mental capacity.

Mental capacity refers to the ability of your child to make decisions for themselves. A person can have mental capacity to make some decisions, and lack the mental capacity to make others. If a health professional assesses that your child does not have the mental capacity to make decisions about their medical care then usually you, as their parent, will be able to attend their medical appointments and make these healthcare decisions on their behalf. 

If your child does have the mental capacity to make their own healthcare decisions, then they must give permission for you to attend their appointments or for healthcare professionals to share medical information with you.

How will the doctor communicate with me about my adult child’s health?

When your child turns 18, they legally become an adult. Whether your child’s doctor is able to continue to communicate with you regarding your child’s health will depend on either your child’s mental capacity, or whether they give permission for their doctor to do so.

Mental capacity is the ability of your child to make decisions about certain things. Your child may have mental capacity to make some decisions while lacking mental capacity to make others. If your child’s doctor assesses that your child does not have the mental capacity to make decisions about their healthcare, then you as a parent will usually become involved to make decisions on their behalf.

If your child does have mental capacity to make healthcare decisions for themselves, their doctor will not communicate with you about their health unless your child gives them permission to do so. 

Last Updated 09/04/2019

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