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.

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 Childrens 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 around 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 their needs.
  • Clinical Nurse Specialists provide healthcare and nursing support to children in education or community settings.
  • Play Specialists provides play activities focussed on emotional and psychological development for any child with a disability or who is experiencing difficulties as a result of a medical treatments and conditions

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service

Oxford Health Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service provides 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 Oxford Health

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 treatment 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 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 age 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

Oxford Health Health Visitors are qualified nurses or midwives available to support parents through pregnancy and up until the child is 5 years old.

Health Visitors can provide a link into the services and support available through the local children centres and community groups.

Health Visitors aim to help you provide the best possible start for your family and can help with immunisations, development checks, feeding difficulties, post-natal depression and anxiety.

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.

Looked After Children (LAC) Service

Oxford Health LAC Service  works closely with the Local Authority LAC service to promote the health and wellbeing of children and young people in care. The team coordinates health assessments for all looked after children in Oxfordshire and is responsible for coordinating the appropriate services to support the child's health and emotional wellbeing.

The service provide advice and guidance to foster carers and prospective adopters on the health needs of looked after children, while supporting health professionals working with the children and carers.

The team are expanding their service to cover those on the edge of care and will help to prepare those who will be transitioning out of care

These services are provided through Oxford Health.

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 care that has been provided.  

School Health Teams (school nursing)

Oxford Health School Health Teams work with schools to provide health advice and support to children and young people over a wide range of areas:

  • Supporting children with long-term health conditions such as asthma, allergies or epilepsy. They also help manage medicines within the school.
  • Education and advice for children and young people around growing up and puberty, complimenting the school curriculum.
  • School nurses provide emotional health and wellbeing advice to support children experiencing emotional turmoil, in order to help them feel more happy and confident.
  • Immunisations such as measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), tetanus and polio are provided through the school nurses.
  • The school nurses promote healthy lifestyles and provide education on a range of health issues including healthy eating, smoking, sexual health, drugs and alcohol.

Therapy services

Oxford Health Children's Therapy Services  are normally provided in a location or setting that is familiar to the child such as children's centres, school or family home.

The therapy services available include:

  • Physiotherapists (physios) work with children and young people of all ages who have a range of problems that affect their ability to move part or all of their body. By improving range, strength, control, coordination or balance a physio may help a child learn to turn their head, crawl, sit, walk or help with more advanced skills of running, throwing and catching or sports.
  • Occupational Therapists (OTs) enable children and young people to take part as fully as possible in activities that are part of their daily lives.  OTs work with children and young people who have learning, physical and/or sensory difficulties which impact their ability to participate in normal everyday activities.
  • Speech and Language Therapists (SLTs) work with children and young people of all ages with a range difficulties that impact on communication including: listening, understanding, putting ideas into words, making sentences, speech development, stammering, voice problems, social interaction skills and eating and swallowing difficulties. The service helps children and young people to develop speech, language or alternative means of communication.

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.

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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 currently trailing 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.

Help and information

Contact us

Contact the Special Needs and Disability - The Local Offer team

Impartial free advice and support

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. 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:

Finding support for parents/carers on your doorstep

Search for organisations and groups to support parents and carers of disabled children and young people and those with SEN and additional needs.

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