Children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) will often need support from different services at different times.

Bristol has a range of health services for children and young people. This includes:

  • doctors
  • pharmacists
  • dental services
  • optometrists
  • hospital services
  • palliative care for children with life threatening or life limiting illnesses
  • mental health services
  • public health nurses (health visitors and school nurses)

These are available to everyone, based on their individual needs.

Children with SEND can access these universal services directly, without needing to go through any kind of referral.

To find your nearest GP, dentist or pharmacist, enter your postcode on the NHS Choices service finder page.

The Community Dental Service Go to (opens new window) provides dental care for people who cannot go to a local dentist because of additional needs or disabilities. Check if you can get help at the dentist Go to (opens new window).

The Community Children's Health Partnership (CCHP) provides the health services that are available in the Local Offer. Some of the health professionals who may be involved in your child's healthcare include:

  • Health visitors work with families with children aged 0 to 5 years. They can offer more support to families and children with additional needs, including referring you to or working with other agencies.
  • School Health Nurses support school-age children and look after their physical and emotional health. They make sure that parents, children and young people can get advice on health and healthy lifestyles. They're responsible for telling the school when a child has been identified as having a medical condition which will need support in school.
  • Speech and language therapists provide support with communication difficulties, language impairment and speech disorders.
  • Children's Occupational therapists help children and young people to learn to do things like writing, playing, sitting or dressing themselves so they can be more independent at school, home or nursery.
  • Children's Physiotherapists help children and young people with things like sitting, moving and walking.
  • Child and adolescent mental health service provides assessments and treatments for children and young people from birth to 17 years old who are experiencing serious mental health problems or marked emotional and behavioural problems
  • Designated Clinical Officer is the contact for LA's, schools and colleges who need to know how to get health advice for children and young people who have special education needs and disabilities (SEND)
  • Special service for children with learning disabilities works with young people aged 0 to 18 years old with learning difficulties, including challenging or self injurious behaviour.

The Clinical Commissioning Group offers Care Education and Treatment Reviews (CETRs) to young people under 18 who:

  • have learning difficulties or are on the autism spectrum
  • are in mental health hospital placements, at risk of admission or receiving care as a day patient

The CETR makes sure the young person isn't admitted to hospital if they don't need to be or for longer than they need to be.

Access health services in Bristol

To access any health services in Bristol, your child will need to be registered with a doctor in Bristol. Some services have specific entry criteria based on a child's level of health need.  You can find out about the criteria for different services on the pages above.

If you're unsure if your child meets the criteria talk to your GP or Health Visitor.

Your child will need a referral from a health professional to access: