Getting help with Health

This page is intended as a basic introduction to health for parents and carers of children and young people with SEND.   You will find much more detailed and extensive information about health services in Hertfordshire via the Hertfordshire SEND Local Offer website here.

Every local authority must, by law, have an online SEND Local Offer which covers education, social care and health services available to children and young people in Hertfordshire.

In general as a parent navigating your way round the health services is not easy to do as the organisational set up is quite complex.  Health includes a wide variety of services that you may encounter as the parent carer of a child or young person with SEND.

Here is a brief overview of the main health organisations in Hertfordshire.

The Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care Board (ICB) is the local NHS organisation that plans and oversees how NHS money is spent and has responsibility for making sure health services work well and are of high quality.  The ICB’s role is to join up health and care services, improve health and wellbeing and reduce health inequalities.

There are also two hospital trusts –

East and North Hertfordshire Hospital Trust manages Hertford County, Mount Vernon Cancer centre, QE2 and Lister hospitals.

West Hertfordshire Hospital NHS Trust manages Hemel Hempsted Hospital, St Albans Hospital and Watford General Hospital and some others such as Potter Bar Community Hospital.

Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust (HCT)

HCT provides a wide range of services that are based mainly in the community. This might be in people’s homes, community settings or in its community hospitals.

Their services are vast and range from school nursing and health visiting for children and young people, to district nurses, diabetes services, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, as well as other specialist services for adults and children.

Hertfordshire Partnership Foundation Trust (HPFT) The trust provides a number of services such as CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service) and Learning Disability Services.

Some common health professionals that you may come across

GP (General practitioner)

Everyone should be registered with a GP and they are often the route into getting health services and other support. On the Local Offer it should be possible to find out which health services need a referral from a GP and those that don’t.

Most GP practices have one GP who is the lead for Learning Disability. This lead GP is for those who are aged 14+ who are entitled to an annual health check.

Community Paediatrician

Your Community Paediatrician is a specialist doctor who plays a key role in the identification of children who may have special educational needs. This professional is able to assess your child’s needs. As well as advising you about health matters, this doctor may discuss with you concerns about possible learning problems.

Designated Medical Officer

This is likely to be a Community Paediatrician. The Designated Medical Officer has the responsibility for the collection of all statutory medical and social services advice.

Every child must have a medical examination as part of a statutory assessment. The exact nature of this examination will depend on whether or not your child has medical problems. Most children receive only a basic medical examination to be sure that they do not have significant medical needs.

Health Visitor

A Health Visitor is a qualified nurse who has undertaken extra specialist training. They may refer pre-school children with special educational needs to the Community Paediatrician.

Occupational Therapist

The Occupational Therapist is trained to provide assessment, treatment and rehabilitation for children and young people who have a physical, co-ordination and processing problems.


A Physiotherapist is trained to provide assessment and treatment in overcoming movement and physical challenges such as problems of balance, coordination, sitting, standing and walking.

Speech and Language Therapist

A Speech and Language Therapist is trained to assess, diagnose, manage and treat speech and language problems. They also provide support and advice for parents and schools.