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Health services to support children and young people with SEN

Services to help children, young people and families with general, specialist and therapeutic needs.

Local Offer Oxfordshire

Oxfordshire's health services provide a broad range of health services for children and young people. This includes everything from general health and wellbeing to more specialist areas.


Adult Learning Disability Service

Oxford Health supports people with learning disabilities and complex physical and/or mental health issues where mainstream health services cannot be accessed, due to the level of adjustment needed for people to access all required health support.

The Learning Disabilities teams for adults start working with young adults from the age of 18 and are then accessible as required through adult life.

The teams are made up of:

  • psychiatrists
  • psychologists
  • nurses
  • occupational therapists
  • physiotherapists
  • speech and language therapists
  • intensive interaction coordinator

There are two community Learning Disability teams. One in the North covering Banbury, Witney, Kidlington and Bicester and one in the City and South covering Oxford City, South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse area. The team operate an open referral system and can be accessed directly by family members or via self-referral.

In addition to the two community teams, the Intensive Support Team (IST) works with adults and children with learning disabilities and behaviours that are described as challenging or complex which cannot be safely be managed by the person themselves, their family, support provider and/or the community teams or CAMHS LD. Referral to the IST is made by the community LD Teams or by CAMHS LD when appropriate.

The Reasonable Adjustment Service (RAS) is a liaison service working with Oxford Health or Oxfordshire County Council services to support professionals and service users who are adults or older adults, with autism (diagnosed or suspected) and/or a learning disability (who are not known to LD services). Referral to RAS is made by professionals working for Oxford Health or Oxfordshire County Council.

Care, education and treatment reviews  (CETRs) - information for families

What is a CETR?

Care, Education and Treatment Reviews (CETRs) are part of NHS England’s commitment to transforming services for children and adults with learning disabilities, autism or both. CETRs are for children whose behaviour is seen as challenging and/or for children with a mental health condition who have been or may be about to be admitted to a specialist mental health or learning disability hospital. 

CETRs aim to reduce admissions and unnecessary stays in hospitals. The CETR is person-centred to make sure the care and treatment needs of the person are met and that the person and their family are involved in this care and are listened to.

CETRs follow PERSONAL principles:

• Person-centred and family centred
•    Evidence-based
•    Rights led
•    Seeing the whole person
•    Open, independent and challenging
•    Nothing about us without us
•    Action focused
•    Living life in the community

If you think your child might be eligible for a CETR then please contact the lead professional that is supporting you and your child. 

For further information please see Care and Treatment Reviews – A Family Survival Guide (pdf format, 626Kb)

For professionals

NHS England has the overarching policy document and guidance for practitioners. This sets out why we have CETRs and what your role and responsibilities are in relation to CETRs. We are trialling a local policy for practitioners for the next six months. Please speak with your line manager if you do not yet have access to this document.

Children's Continuing Health Care

Children’s Continuing Health Care is an assessment framework developed by the Department of Health to support health trusts in determining how they may best support a young person with exceptional health care needs.

The framework was designed to assess the health needs of children and young people under 18 who need a tailored package of care because of a disability, an accident or complex health needs.

The Children's Continuing Health Care team use this framework in assessing young people referred to the team.

The Children’s Continuing Health Care team consists of experienced nurses with expertise in learning disability, mental health and physical health working alongside a team of administrators.

Community Children's Nursing Service

The nurses are directly involved with the child and family and help parents provide treatments and monitor their child's progress. The Oxford Health Community Children's Nursing Service includes:

  • Community Nurses support families where a child requires nursing advice or support such as with chronic illnesses and complex drug and feeding plans.
  • Respite Nursing works alongside the family to give parents and carers time for themselves, safe in the knowledge that their child is being cared for by someone who is familiar with their needs.
  • Clinical Nurse Specialists provide healthcare and nursing support to children in education or community settings.
  • Play Specialists provides play activities focused on emotional and psychological development for any child with a disability or who is experiencing difficulties as a result of medical treatments and conditions

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service

Oxford Health Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service provide specialist and in-patient support for children and young people with urgent or complex mental health needs.

Cleft Lip and Palate and Craniofacial Speech and Language Therapy Services

Cleft Lip and Palate and Craniofacial Speech and Language Therapy Services, based at the John Radcliffe Hospital Oxford, work within the Spires Cleft Lip and Palate Centre and the Oxford Craniofacial Unit to provide information, assessment, therapeutic and surgical treatments for children and adults with cleft lip and palate and craniofacial conditions.

These services are provided through OUH 

Dental service

The Oxfordshire Community Dental Service provides specialised dental care to children and adults who have medical conditions, learning or physical disabilities, anxiety or phobia, mental health issues or children/adults requiring special care dentistry because they cannot receive the care that they require at a general dental practice.

To access the service you need to be referred. The service receives referrals from GPs, general dental practitioners, other healthcare and social care professionals and secondary care. Referrals into the service are sent to and processed at:

Dental Referral Bureau
Oxfordshire Salaried Primary Care Dental Service
Astral House
Granville Way
OX26 4JT
Tel: 01865 904040.

The service has ten clinics across Oxfordshire which provide a comprehensive range of dental treatments to patients of all ages. 

We will aim to offer you an appointment at a clinic which is local to you within 12 weeks of referral.

Once referred you will receive a letter offering you an appointment.  Disabled access and limited parking are available at all clinics. 

For patients with mobility issues, there is a hoist available in the clinic at East Oxford Health Centre, or dental care and treatment can be provided in patients’ homes for those who are eligible.


Oxfordshire Children's Diabetes Service is a multi-professional team supporting all children and young people with diabetes from birth to those over 18 years of age. We are part of the Thames Valley Paediatric Diabetes Network.

We are based at Oxford Children’s Hospital and look after over 350 patients, most of whom live within Oxfordshire. We offer management of diabetes from diagnosis for children and young people aged 0-17 and support their transfer to adult services at age 18-19. We provide a comprehensive paediatric diabetes service, including insulin pumps according to NICE guidelines.

Eye health

Health Visitors and Family Nurses

Oxford Health has the following services for children under five and their families.\

Pre-school children and their families are our key focus. All children up until the age of five will have a named health visiting team. Some parents who are teenagers will be offered a family nurse. Family Nurse Partnership. Family nurses are qualified nurses who work more intensively with teenage parents expecting their first child, up until the age of two when care is transferred to the local health visiting team.  You can find out more information about Family Nurses here: Family Nurse Partnership - Health Visiting Service

Health visitors are registered nurses/midwives who have additional training in community public health nursing. We lead the 0 to 5 element of the Healthy Child Programme. We work with parents and carers of children under the age of five who have an Oxfordshire postcode. We lead teams of Community Staff Nurses, Community Nursery Nurses and Administrators providing universal support and we work in partnership with families or carers, community settings and partner agencies such as early years settings, GP’s, community paediatricians, midwifery services and Local Authority services. Because of our partnership working with so many other agencies and groups, we are well placed to identify and signpost to support needed. We work together with our partner agencies and with parents to help children, young people and families to thrive

All families with children up until the age of five who have an Oxfordshire postcode are on our countywide caseloads. As well as our routine health and developmental reviews, we run a variety of health promotion groups - our “Early Days” postnatal groups, “Marvellous Me” health promotion groups, “Knowing Me, Knowing You” and “Breathing Space” groups for parents experiencing low mood and/or anxiety. We also hold regular well-baby clinics throughout the county. For parents wanting some extra support, for example, with sleep, behaviour, language development, and toilet training, we can support and advise. For children with chronic or complex needs, we work closely with partner agencies to provide a joint package of support. For families whose child has special educational needs and/or disabilities, we offer an enhanced package of support, in consultation with parents, through our SEND pathway. See specific information on our website: Support for children with additional needs - Health Visiting Service

Our health visiting service has been accredited as “Baby Friendly” with the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative. The UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative enables public services to better support families with feeding and developing close and loving relationships so that all babies get the best possible start in life. 

You can contact a health visitor for advice or support via this link: Getting Advice & Giving Feedback - Health Visiting Service”. We also have lots of information about a child’s health and development on our website here: Health Visiting - Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust

Infant-Parent Perinatal Service (IPPS)

Oxford Health IPPS provides support for women during the antenatal or postnatal period who are experiencing or are at risk of developing mental health difficulties, including depression and anxiety as well as post-traumatic stress, obsessive-compulsive and eating disorders.

The IPPS can also provide assessment and treatment of the parent-infant relationship, care coordination with other professionals and telephone support for the mother and her family.

Newborn Care Service (Neonatal Unit)

Oxford University Hospitals' Trust Newborn Care Service provides specialist medical, surgical and cardiology care to newborn babies. Referrals to the services are typically made through GPs, health visitors and midwives.

Patient Advice and Liaison (PALS)

Oxford Health PALS provides support and advice to patients, their families and friends around any comments or complaints they may have relating to the care that has been provided.  

Phoenix Team

The Phoenix Team, part of Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, is a multidisciplinary team consisting of administrative and clinical support staff, nurses and doctors. We aim to improve, support and protect children’s and young people’s health and wellbeing by identifying health needs, providing advice and information and referring to other services where needed. We work closely with families and professionals and may see children just once or multiple times to help them to be as healthy and safe as possible.

The Team provides health input for children who are at risk of exploitation and open to the Emerald Team in Children’s Social Care or subject to a court order with the Youth Justice Service.

The Team is also responsible for the coordination and completion of the statutory health assessments for children who are looked after by Oxfordshire County Council. This includes facilitating the completion of the health assessment regardless of where the child is placed. Each health assessment completed by a nursing or medical practitioner is supported by multiple administrative processes pre and post-assessment. There are also quality assurance mechanisms in place to review the standard of completed work.

Visit our website for further information: Phoenix Team - Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust

School and college health nurses

Oxford nurses: are qualified nurses who work in state schools across Oxfordshire. We have nurses based in all secondary schools and further education colleges, and a team who look after children in primary schools.

We provide advice on healthy choices such as healthy eating, sexual health and substance misuse. We offer health reviews, deliver childhood immunisations, support for teenage parents and families with complex needs, and much more. Safeguarding children and young people is at the heart of what we do, and we work with parents/carers as well as with partner agencies such as social health care services.

College nurses: are based in further education colleges in Abingdon, Witney, Oxford City, Banbury and Henley,  to develop and deliver a high-quality service for young adults

Immunisation Team -   Deliver the school-based immunisation programme - Flu, Meningitis ACWY, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Polio, Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and catch-up programmes for Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR)

Children's therapy services

Children’s Integrated Therapies in Oxfordshire include occupational therapy, physiotherapy, and speech & language therapy.

We aim to support children and young people and their families by working with our partners in health, education, social care and voluntary and independent agencies.

Each service works together with their trained Technical Instructors to provide a comprehensive service. For children with complex needs who are supported across the therapy teams we have trained Assistant Practitioners who may deliver sessions targeting multiple intervention areas. We are supported by administrators who help the team to run smoothly and efficiently.

Speech and Language Therapy

We support children and young people who have speech, language and communication difficulties to develop the best possible communication skills that they can. For some, this might be spoken communication, and for others, it might be learning to use a communication aid or an approach based on signs, symbols or gestures.

Speech and Language Therapists also assess, treat and advise on eating, drinking and swallowing problems.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapists help children participate in everyday life and become as independent as practically possible at school and at home.

We provide assessments, advice, activity programmes and therapy for children with a range of physical or developmental conditions that affect their daily life.

Through this, we aim to enable each child and family to discover how much they can do for themselves.


We are a team of trained physiotherapists who work with children and young people up to the age of 18 years to help develop gross motor skills.

Our team help children move and function to the best of their ability when they have been affected by injury, illness, developmental delay or other disability.

We work in patients’ homes, nurseries or schools, as well as at local hospitals, health centres or children’s centres. We will see you as close to home as possible.

Other medical services

A number of general and acute services (both in-patient and out-patient) are provided by Oxford University Hospitals Trust. These services cover specialist medical services and community health services for children and young people.

These services include:

Information on the range of services available can be found on the Oxford University Hospital Trust website.

Find health services near you

Help and information

Search on the Family Information Service website for organisations and groups that support parents and carers of disabled children and young people and those with SEN and additional needs.

Impartial free advice and support - education

The special educational needs and disability information advice and support service (SENDIASS) offers impartial information, advice and support to parents of children and young people with SEN and disabilities regarding their education. You can get in touch by completing this online form.

The service aims to help parents, carers, young people and educational professionals to work together to provide the best possible support to children and young people with special educational needs, by:

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