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 in Kent are available to everyone and you do not need an assessment or referral to use them. Many children and young people with SEND will have their needs met by one the following services:
- General Practitioners (GPs)
- urgent care and walk-in centres
- children health and wellbeing navigators (care navigators)
- health visitors (parental support)
- school nurses
- sexual health
If you live in Medway, please visit Medway’s local offer.
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.
NHS 111 can help if you need urgent medical help or you're not sure what to do.
You can get help from the NHS 111 website or call 111. It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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.
For an easy read guide to your GP visit, you can read:
- what happens when you go the see your GP (easy read)
- how to tell your GP that you have a learning disability (easy read)
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.
The NHS recommends that people should have their 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.
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)
Urgent care and walk in centres
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.
Children health and wellbeing navigators
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.
Your local NHS services
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.