Key roles within children’s health services

All parents and carers know something about health services. Nearly everyone has a family doctor (GP) and has visited a local hospital at some time. The health service (NHS) provides services that everyone in the population can access. These are called universal services. It also provides other services that you are more likely to come across because your child needs extra help and support. These services are called specialist services. Due to the varying and often complex needs of children, it is possible that a range of health professionals will be involved in helping and supporting you, your child, and your family.

Below is an introduction to some of the job roles and specialist services you may come across.  Some of these services are provided in hospitals or clinics and you may have to attend appointments at a distance to access them.

General practitioner (GP)
Health visitors
School nurses
Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services
Clinical psychologists
Children’s Integrated Therapy and Nursing Service
Paediatrician
Paediatric neurologist

General practitioner (GP)

A GP is a family doctor who works in a surgery, either on their own or with other GPs. Your doctor deals with your child's general health and can refer you to clinics, hospitals and specialists when needed. They may also support applications for benefits or other types of help. Any concerns about your child’s health, wellbeing and development can be raised with your local GP. They can request the involvement of other health services, social care and community related support to promote the wellbeing of your child and family

Health visitors

Health visitors provide a service for all families with children under the age of five years old. They assess your child’s development and can work with a range of professionals to provide ongoing support and request the involvement of other services if necessary. Family health issues, for example postnatal depression, weaning or parenting concerns, can also be addressed by the health visitor and support offered where necessary. All families with children under five years will have a nominated health visitor who can be contacted via your GP.

School Nurses

School nurses provide a service to school age children, their parents/carers and teachers to help promote the health and wellbeing of children. They offer advice and support on health related issues and topics such as obesity, substance misuse, sexual health, emotional health and wellbeing. They can be contacted through your child’s school or relevant health centres.

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)

CAMHS are specialist NHS services. They offer assessment and treatment when children and young people have complex and persistent emotional, behavioural or mental health difficulties

Clinical psychologists

A Clinical Psychologist is a health professional who helps children and young people with specific problems with learning or behaviour difficulties.

Children’s Integrated Therapy and Nursing Service

This service incorporates specialist therapy services including speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and specialist school nursing service. Access to this integrated services is via a single locality single point of access and is outlined in the local offer

Paediatrician

A Paediatrician is a doctor who specialises in working with babies and children. They are often the first point of contact for families who find out that their child has an impairment or medical condition. Paediatricians may give you a diagnosis about your child's condition, answer any questions you may have and refer you to more specialist services.

Paediatric neurologist

A Paediatric Neurologist is a doctor who specialises in how the brain works in very young children.


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