Everyday health services
Most health services are available to everyone and you do not need an assessment or referral to use them. Many children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) will have their needs met by an everyday health service.
If you live in Medway, please visit Medway’s local offer.
Visiting a healthcare provider
The NHS has to make it easy for children and young people with SEND to use their services.
Tell them about you
Watch this video from Mencap to understand the importance of telling people about you or your child's disability.
General health services
There are a number of health services there to support your child or young person with either universal health needs or specialist services and targeted services. Services may differ depending on where in Kent you live.
A General Practitioner (GP) treats a wide range of health issues, including:
- general health advice
- maternity services
Visit the NHS website to find out how to register with your local GP.
If your child or young person has a learning disability, you may be able to join the Learning Disability Register (a record of all those who are living with a learning disability).
Those over 14 with a learning disability are also entitled to an annual health check.
What happens when you visit the doctor
When you visit the doctor, they will sit down and discuss any concerns that you have. They're there to listen to you and to support you.
For an easy read guide to your GP visit read:
- what happens when you visit your GP (easy read)
- how to tell your GP that you have a learning disability (easy read).
If a GP cannot see you, we recommend that you visit your local pharmacist. A pharmacist can help you with minor health concerns, like:
- sore throats
- tummy troubles
- aches and pains.
You can find them on the high street, in your supermarket, or online. They are usually open till late and you don't need to make an appointment.
For an easy read guide to pharmacies:
Dentists are available for everyone to use. Some disabilities or medical conditions make it harder to see a dentist.
If this is the case, your dentist will refer you to a specialist community dental service. A specialist dentist can work in a hospital or a health center. Speak with your dentist to ask whether they can treat you.
Referrals to a specialist community dental service can be for:
- children with extensive untreated tooth decay, who are particularly anxious or uncooperative
- children with physical or learning disabilities or medical conditions
- children who are 'looked after' or on the 'at risk register'
- young people with complex needs, who have proven difficulty in accessing or accepting care. This includes those with moderate, severe learning, physical disabilities or mental health problems adults with medical conditions housebound or homeless people.
To find out more about the community dental care available in your area, contact NHS England on 0300 311 2233 or visit the NHS website.
What happens when you visit the dentist
The dentist will check the health of your teeth at your appointment. They will use special equipment, give you advice to help to clean your teeth and they may take an x-ray of your mouth.
To find out more about your visit you can:
- watch how Jordan who has down syndrome visits the dentist
- vist the NHS website to read what happens during your dentist appointment, where you can also read their easy read guide to dentists.
The NHS recommends that you should have your eyes tested every 2 years.
Free eye tests are available for children and young people aged 0 to 18. From 18 onwards, you may need to pay for an eye test. Find out if you are eligible for free tests or a mobile sight test.
If you are eligible for a mobile sight test, an optometrist may be able to visit you at home, or at a day centre if you:
- cannot leave your home or care home unaccompanied
- have a physical or mental illness
- have a physical or mental disability
- have difficulties communicating your health needs unaided.
What happens when you visit the opticians
The optician will check your eyes using a number of tests. To find out what happens when you visit the opticians you can:
Other easy read documents you may be interested in reading:
- advice on looking after your eyes for people with Down's syndrome
- getting new glasses (for young people)
- getting new glasses (for children)
- how to be eye care aware
- how to use eye drops
- using computer screens often and looking after your eyes
- why wearing glasses is okay (for children)
- why wearing glasses is okay (for young people)
If you're looking for additional general support at home, our Disabled Children's or Young People's Team can assess your child and your family's needs, including:
- services that can offer you or your child support
- direct payments
- short breaks.
Visiting an urgent care or walk in centre
If you need urgent medical attention, you can visit an urgent care or walk in centre. You must not visit if it is a life threatening situation.
Visit the NHS website to find out when you should go to an urgent care and walk in centre.
Visiting a hospital
Sometimes your child may need to visit a hospital to:
- receive support and treatment
- attend A&E
- see a relative.
The Health Visiting Service is a workforce of specialist community public health nurses who provide expert advice, support and interventions for families expecting a new baby or those with children under 5 years old.
The service works in line with the national Healthy Child Programme, which aims to promote health and wellbeing for all children.
The school public health service supports children and young people in Kent both attending and not attending school. They lead and deliver key elements of the Healthy Child Programme, including the National Childhood Measurement Programme. They work closely with schools and families to deliver early intervention and to support the health and wellbeing of children and young people aged 5 to 18 years old.
The service is led by qualified nurses with specialist training in public health. They are supported by:
- school staff nurses
- assistant practitioners
- public health assistants
- an administration team
- health visitors
- community paediatricians
Start for Life aims to improve the health of babies and children, from conception, throughout pregnancy and up to the age of 2.
This time is really important for healthy development. We want to support parents-to-be and mums, dads and carers to give their children the best foundations for future health and happiness.
Over 60 GP practises in Kent offer the Involve Children's Health and Wellbeing Navigator Service.
A care navigator is based at the surgery and is for children and young people aged 0 to 25 who have a long term health condition, particularly with mental health concerns or neurodevelopmental issues (autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).
Once long-term support is needed, the care navigator will work with you to understand their concerns and challenges. Afterwards, they'll help coordinate care, provide information and guidance, and make sure you're aware of and engaged with relevant services.
Ask your GP if you can receive support from your local care navigator.
Before you call 999, you should contact NHS 111.
NHS 111 can help if you need urgent medical help or you're not sure what to do. They will ask questions about your symptoms so you get the help you need.
If you need to go to A&E, NHS 111 will book an arrival time. This might mean you spend less time in A&E. This also helps with social distancing.
It's available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Services in Kent can fall under one of these providers:
- Kent Community Health Foundation Trust (KCHFT)
- Dartford and Gravesham Trust (DGT)
- East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust (EKHUFT)
- Kent and Medway Partnership Trust (KMPT)
- Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust (MTW)
- Medway Community Healthcare (Medway and Swale)
- Medway Foundation Trust
- South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAMB)
- North East London Foundation Trust (NELFT)
If you are not happy with the service being provided to your child, find out who can support you and how to raise a complaint.