Specialist services all have their own referral criteria that need to be met in order to have an assessment.

The general practitioner will refer to the service and they will look to see if you meet the criteria. Please contact your local service and ask for more information, as it differs slightly depending on where you are located.

Specialist Childrens Services provide a range of services dependant on which area you live in but they all have close links to both therapy and medical professionals. Even if they don’t all sit within the same building or service they work closely together to provide a holistic service. You will need a referral from your general practitioner to access this service. Professionals include:

  • Occupational therapy
  • Paediatric consultants
  • Physiotherapy
  • Speech and language therapy (able to self-refer for this service)
  • Clinical psychology  

This is not exhaustive and is organised in response to the area you live in so it’s worth checking your clinical care group website to understand fully what is provided.

This is a nought to 19 North Yorkshire service and is provided by the Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust.

  • Health visitors (nought to five only)
  • School nursing service
  • Immunisations team

All children and young people have access to NHS services but sometimes their health needs can be so complex they cannot be met by universal or specialist services alone. These needs can arise due to accident, disability or illness.

These services include services provided by; general practitioner practices, hospitals, community services already commissioned by the local clinical commissioning group or NHS England. If additional health support is needed this is called Children's Continuing Care.

The service is nurse led and the process involves three stages: assessment, decision making and development of a package of care. The team uses the national framework for Children and Young People's Continuing Care.

Referrals can be made by any professional working with a child or young person and their family, for example, social worker, community nurse, general practitioner, hospital discharge planning nurse and an initial checklist is completed.

Consent is obtained by the referrer and checklist is considered alongside the Education, Health and Care Plan (if there is one) and reports from any specialists involved in the child’s care.

The continuing care nurse will make a decision based on all the information provided if an initial assessment should be undertaken to assess for eligibility for continuing care.

If a child is eligible a package of care is then arranged and the best way of managing it is discussed with the family, for example, personal health budget.

If a professional working with a family is considering making a referral they are encouraged to call or email the team to discuss 0300 3038674 or email nyccg.childrenscontinuingcare@nhs.net  The team is part of the multidisciplinary integrated team supporting children, young people and their families.

You may need specialist equipment in school to support their access to education. Some equipment is funded through school and some can be provided. If you think your child needs specialist equipment at school then speak to your special educational needs co-ordinator or your health professional and they will refer you to the right process.

If your child has a diagnosis of a learning disability they will be eligible to be part of the transforming care programme. This is a programme designed to link health, education and social care at a high level to improve services for young people and their families.

If your child is 14 or over and has a diagnosis of a learning disability they are entitled a learning disability health check from your general practitioner. This health check should be completed every year.  It is designed to be a full review of your child’s needs so that any health need can be identified at the earliest opportunity and the right action taken. 

As your child enters adulthood your general practitioner will be your main point of contact which is very different to being in children’s services. However, having that relationship with your general practitioner can help to navigate the adult health world and access the right services at the right time.

If you have just received a diagnosis of autism it can be a very daunting time. If your child is struggling with things in their daily life your general practitioner can help to either refer to one of the specialist services for an assessment and intervention or can signpost to one of the community services within the region. 

If you feel your child may have autism then go to your general practitioner and explain the situation to them. Your general practitioner can refer your child for an autism assessment to the relevant local provider, or can signpost to one of the community services within the region. Further information on the local providers can be found on the North Yorkshire clinical care group website.

You may also be able to access the following services for advice, information and support which includes the Healthy Child Programme (health visitors and school nurses).

There are also charities which provide useful information and support around children’s behaviour issues:

You can also visit the North Yorkshire Connect website which is a directory of services across North Yorkshire.

Keyworker service

The NHS Long Term Plan includes a commitment that ‘by 2023/24 children and young people with a learning disability and/or who are autistic with the most complex needs will have a designated keyworker, implementing the recommendation made by Dame Christine Lenehan in the Council for Disabled Children review 'These are our children'.

Initially, keyworker support will be provided to children and young people with a learning disability and/or who are autistic who are inpatients in, or at risk of being admitted to, a mental health hospital. Keyworker support will then be extended to the most vulnerable children with a learning disability and/or who are autistic, including people who face multiple vulnerabilities such as looked after and adopted children, and children and young people in transition between services.’

Keyworkers will make sure that these children, young people and families get the right support at the right time. They will make sure that local systems are responsive to fully meeting the young people’s needs in a joined up way and that whenever it is possible to provide care and treatment in the community with the right support this becomes the norm.

A keyworker will work with children and young people with the most complex needs and their families and carers to make sure families are fully involved in their plans, feel listened to and informed, plans are personalised, and they have the support they need at the right time, in a co-ordinated way. Keyworking should help families experience a reduction in stress and uncertainty and an increase in stability. More information about children and young people keyworkers is available on the NHS website.

Humber, Coast and Vale Keyworker Service contact information

The Humber, Coast and Vale Keyworker Service supports children and young people with a learning disability, autism or both, with the most complex needs and are inpatients in, or at risk of being admitted to, a mental health inpatient unit.

You can contact them on email at hnf-tr.keyworkerenquiries@nhs.net 

Alternatively, you can telephone 01482 205425