Children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) can have varying and often complex health needs. This may mean they are cared for by a range of health professionals from different services.
Most health services in the UK are provided by the National Health Service (NHS). These services are free and available to everybody who needs to use them.
Using the directory on the right-hand side of this page, you can find out about the different health services available locally. It includes information on who the service is for, how to access the service and who to contact for more information.
Looking for charities or support groups that can help with medical conditions? These are listed on our Social Care and Family Support page.
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.
- 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?
A Medical Needs Policy sets out the support available in the borough for children or young people who, for reasons related to ill-health, cannot attend full-time education. To read about and download City of Westminster's Medical Needs Policy please click here.
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, NHS England, or Public Health 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.
Central London CCG is made up of your local GP practices and other health professionals. They commission planned and emergency hospital care, rehabilitation, most community services and mental health and learning disability services.
NHS Central London CCG overlaps with the borough of Westminster, except in the Queen’s Park and Paddington areas – these areas are instead covered by West London CCG. Click here for a map be illustrating the geographical spread of the CCG.
If you would like to get in contact with the CCG, please use the following details:
Address: 15 Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5JD
Telephone: 0203 350 4000
NHS England is an executive body of the Department of Health and Social Care. It manages the budget, planning, delivery and day-to-day operation of the commissioning side of the NHS in England as set out in the Health and Social Care Act 2012.
NHS England commission the contracts for GPs, pharmacists, and dentists and they support local health services that are led by groups of GPs called Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).
NHS England tends to commission highly specialised services which are provided in relatively few hospitals and accessed by comparatively small numbers of patients, but with catchment populations of usually more than one million. An example would be Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH).
NHS England can be contacted using the following details:
Address: NHS England, PO Box 16738, Redditch, B97 9PT
Telephone: 0300 311 22 33
British Sign Language (BSL): If you use BSL, you can to talk to us via a video call to a BSL interpreter. Visit NHS England’s BSL Service.
Public health is a type of medicine concerned with preventing ill-health. Public Health England (PHE) is an organisation which brings together public health specialists from more than 70 organisations into a single expert national public health agency.
Public Health England are responsible commissioners for the following services:
- School nursing services for children and young people
- Parenting / breastfeeding
- Tobacco control / stop smoking
- Sexual health services / screening / GUM / chlamydia screening
Further details regarding Public Health in Local Government commissioning responsibilities can be found on the Government’s website
If you would like to contact the PHE Centre in London, please use the following details:
Address: Fleetbank House, 2-6 Salisbury Square, London, EC4Y 8JX
Telephone: 020 7811 7000 / 020 7811 7001
In some cases, services can be commissioned through a Personal Health Budget (PHB). A PHB is an amount of money to support your identified health and wellbeing needs as planned and agreed between you and your local NHS team.
The aim of a personal health budget is to give people with long term conditions and disabilities greater choice and control over the healthcare and support they receive.
Currently, children and young people who are eligible for Children’s Continuing Care have the right to a PHB.
There is an expectation that the right to a PHB will also be extended to more groups including those with autism and/or a learning disability. The NHS ran a consultation on this in the Summer of 2018. More details should be available soon.
For more information on PHBs, please visit the NHS website.