Everyday 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.

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. Before attending a health service, you can ask your GP, dentist, optician or other health professional to make a reasonable adjustment. A reasonable adjustment allows your child or young person to:

  • have longer appointments to help them to understand any medical information they are given
  • be given a priority appointment or a last minute appointment change
  • be provided with any easy read appointment letters.

Watch this video from Mencap to understand the importance of telling people about you or your child's disability.

Tell your health provider about you video transcript.

Health passport

Children and young people are able to document their health needs via a health passport. The health passport can be used throughout many of these health services, as it contains other useful information, such as their interests, likes, dislikes and preferred method of communication.

Learn more about other reasonable adjustments and your rights.

Services to support you and your family

A General Practitioner (GP) deals with a wide range of health issues. They could include; general health advice, contraception, maternity services and vaccinations.

It is important that you register with your nearest GP practice, visit the NHS website to find out how to register with your local GP.

Anyone over the age of 14 with a learning disability is entitled to an annual health check. If you have a disability, you must let them know, as you may be eligible to join the Learning Disability Register. The Learning Disability Register is a record of all children and young people who are living with a learning disability.

What happens when you visit the doctor

When you visit the doctor, they will sit down and discuss any concerns that you have. They are there to listen to you, and to help support you with your health.

For an easy read guide to your GP visit, you can read:

Pharmacists are experts in medicines who can help you with minor health concerns. They can offer clinical advice and over-the-counter medicines for a range of illnesses, such as coughs, colds, sore throats, tummy trouble and 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.

If a GP cannot see you, we recommend that you visit your local pharmacist.

For an easy read guide to pharmacies, you can :

Dentists are available for everyone to use. However you may not be able to visit your dentist due to your disability or medical condition.

If this is the case, your dentist will refer you to a specialist community dental service. A specialist dentist service can be in a hospital, or a health centre. You must 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:

The NHS recommends that you should have your eyes tested every 2 years.

Children and young people aged 0 to 18 years old receive free eye tests, please speak to your midwife, health visitor or local optician about accessing these services. The NHS recommends eye tests every 2 years in adulthood however you may need to pay for your eye test. Find out whether 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:

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:

Find out how we can help you.

You can visit an urgent care and walk in centre if you need urgent medical attention. 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.

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
  • schools.

Find out more about the school public health service.

The Involve Children’s Health and Wellbeing Navigator Service is available at over 60 GP practices throughout Kent. A care navigator is based at the surgery and is for children aged 0 to 17 (up to 25 for young people with SEND) as well as offering support to transition into adult services. They support those who have a long term health condition, particularly with neurodevelopmental issues (autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) or mental health concerns both pre and post diagnosis.

Once the need for long term support is recognised, the care navigator will come with you to understand your child or young person's concerns and challenges. They will then help to coordinate care and support, access information and guidance and ensure you are aware of and engaged with relevant services and organisations.

To find out if you can receive support from your local care navigator you must contact your GP and request a referral.

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.

Get help from NHS 111 online