Accessing Health Services - FAQs
How will health professionals care for me or my child?
If you or your child are supported by a number of different health professionals, they will work with one another to ensure that information is shared and care is well coordinated. This approach helps them to achieve the best healthcare outcomes.
Likewise, if you receive support from various services across health, education and social care, they will work together in a multi-agency team focused on delivering coordinated and appropriate care for you or your child.
Some health professionals who may be involved in your / your child’s healthcare include:
- Community paediatricians: A team of doctors who provide assessments for children where there are concerns about their development.
- Community children’s nurses: A team of nurses who have experience of working with children with complex health needs. They often work with children at home or in school.
- Occupational Therapists: Work with children and young people to help them do things like writing, playing, sitting or dressing themselves. Please click here to find out more information about Children and Young people's Occupational Therapy service, Social Care OT, or SEN OT
- Physiotherapists: Work with children and young people to help them with things like sitting, moving and walking.
- Speech and Language Therapists: Provide support with communication difficulties, language impairment and speech disorders.
- Children and Adolescents Mental Health services (CAMHS): Provides mental health assessment and treatment for children, young people (aged 0-18) and their families.
How do I access health services?
The first person to speak to if you are worried about your child’s health and wellbeing should be a GP, health visitor or school nurse. They can help with a wide range of health issues including concerns you may have about your child’s development. Depending on your child’s needs they might also refer you to more specialist health services.
On the Local Offer directory, you will find the eligibility criteria for each of the health services available locally. The eligibility criteria will usually be based on the type and/or level of need and sometimes on your / your child’s age. These eligibility criteria exist to make sure you or your child receive the right care. You should speak to your doctor or other health professional for advice if you are unsure whether a health service is right for you.
Access to NHS health services should be based on need only, and other barriers including financial or accessibility requirements should not stop you from receiving care. Health services are legally required to make reasonable adjustments when a person has additional needs that might otherwise stop them from receiving care.
Watch the video from Mencap below about what a reasonable adjustment means:
If you or your child have difficulties with communication, you might benefit from a hospital passport. Hospital passports are documents that help health professionals to understand you or your child's needs and what reasonable adjustments they could make. Read more about hospital passports and how to prepare one here.
Young people with SEND can learn more about their rights accessing healthcare services in the interactive Get Your Rights website.
What support is there for children missing education due to illness?
What support is there for children with specific medical conditions?
Who commissions health services?
Commissioning is the process of planning, designing and paying for local health services. Commissioning is usually carried out by the local Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS England. You may also be able to “commission” your own services through a Personal Health Budget.
Click the sections below to read more about the ways local health services are commissioned.
Last Updated 21/02/2023