Health rights for SEND children and young people

When using services provided by the NHS you should know your rights.

Every person receiving treatment should have the final say over the decisions that are affecting their health. You can be supported in making your decision unless you do not have the capacity to do so.

Reasonable adjustments

Most health services in Kent are available to everyone and many children and young people with SEND will have their needs met by services.

Under the Equality Act 2010, all disabled people have the right to reasonable adjustments when using public services, including healthcare. These adjustments remove barriers that disabled people would otherwise face in accessing these services. This can include easy read documents, longer appointments, clearer signs.

You can download an easy read version of the accessible information standard, which outlines how services can support you.

Treat me well

Reasonable adjustments can be simple changes made by an individual healthcare professional such as a GP, nurse, dentist or an optician. Or sometimes adjustments need to be made by a team of multiple people. By making these changes, it means that barriers are removed from those with learning difficulties, and can provide them with extra care and support.

The treat me well programme have outlined the top 10 reasonable adjustments you can and should make when visiting a health service.

Support when using a health service

If you are concerned about the service you are being provided with you can contact one of the following:

Your local GP

Any concerns about a person’s health, wellbeing and development can be raised with their local GP. They can request the involvement of other health services, social care and community related support to promote the wellbeing of your child and family if needed.


You may feel you are not being listened to by health and social care workers. You may feel unable to communicate or express yourself in order to get your own view point across. The advocate service can support you to make sure that your views and rights are respected, that you are treated fairly, your concerns are taken into account and you have real control over the big decisions in your life

Find out more about the Advocacy service.

Get Your Rights

You can visit the Get Your Rights website to watch videos and find more information to help you with decisions and choices about your healthcare.

Healthwatch UK

Alternatively you can contact Healthwatch Kent who can:

  • Listen to your voice. They want to hear your experiences of health and social care services. They’ll be able to use your story to help improve the services for others.
  • Help you navigate the health and social care system to work out what services are available to you and how to access them.

For more information you can:

Mental Capacity Act

The Mental Capacity Act (MCA) is an important law for people with a learning disability. Every adult, whatever their disability, has the right to make their own decisions wherever possible.

People should always support a person to make their own decisions if they can. This might mean giving them information in a format that they can understand (for example this might be easy read information for a person with a learning disability) or explaining something in a different way.

But if a decision is too big or complicated for a person to make, even with appropriate information and support, then people supporting them must make a ‘best interests’ decision for them

To find out more about the Mental Capacity Act you can:

Become a deputy under the MCA

You can apply to become someone’s deputy if they ‘lack mental capacity’. This means they cannot make a decision for themselves at the time it needs to be made. They may still be able to make decisions for themselves at certain times.

People may lack mental capacity because, for example, they’ve had a serious brain injury or illness or they have severe learning disabilities. As a deputy, you’ll be authorised by the Court of Protection to make decisions on their behalf.

Find out more about becoming a deputy.

Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

PALS offers confidential advice, support and information for patients, families and their carers.

They can help you with:

  • health related questions
  • any concerns or problems when using the NHS
  • the NHS complaints procedure
  • support groups outside of the NHS.

For more information about your local PALS service you can visit the following websites:

Customer experience team at Medway

If you have any questions around the care at Medway or need additional advice, you can visit the Medway Community Healthcare website for contact details.

Make a complaint about an NHS service

If you're still not happy with a service that has been provided to you by the NHS, you can make a complaint. You should complain to the person or organisation providing the service first, such as the GP, dentist, hospital or pharmacist.

Alternatively, you can complain to the commissioner of that service by contacting the clinical commissioning group (CCG).