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Health Care

Health Care

Health Care

Reasonable adjustments

You can request ‘reasonable adjustments’ to enable easier access to services for your relative. The Equality Act 2010 says that service providers, including hospitals and GP surgeries, must take reasonable steps to remove barriers which stop disabled people from having access to the same healthcare services as everyone else. Examples of adjustments which service providers can make include:

  • early or late appointments,
  • longer appointments,
  • somewhere quiet to wait,
  • priority appointments,
  • easy read information.

Also, when being referred for tests by a GP or other specialists, ask them to include any reasonable adjustments they might need to make in the referral letter. Disabled people accessing health services are also protected from direct or indirect discrimination by the Equality Act 2010.

Ask if there is a Learning Disability Liaison Nurse (LDLN) who can help plan a hospital or GP Surgery visit. LDLN are specialist learning disability nurses, they have a better understanding of the needs your relative may have. They may be able to co-ordinate between different health professionals and might be there at the time of the appointment to help with anything extra needed on the day.

Health Passport

My Health Passport’ is a resource for anyone with a disability who might need hospital treatment.  The passport is designed to help young people to communicate their needs to doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals.


Who decides?

As a young person grows up from child to adult, the roles and responsibilities, powers and procedures that govern their ability to consent and control over their care changes.  This means that, as they get older, young people have more rights to have a say in what happens to them. You can make decisions on your own before 18 years old if your healthcare professional feels that you have a good understanding of the situation (competence).  When you are 18 years old, you can make independent decisions.



Your healthcare information is confidential.  Managing your own health information is something that you need to learn as you become more independent. This is one of the reasons why your parents or carers will be receiving routine clinic information. They are the people who are normally there to support you when you have health problems and are often an important safety net.

As you become more independent and able to make your own decisions, you can decide not to share your information. This depends on how independent you are, and what your relationship and level of trust is with your parents/carers. You can discuss this with someone in your healthcare team.


This Healthcare Transitions Toolbox provides more information:


Routine healthcare

We should all register with a GP, dentist and optician for our routine health care.  You can make an appointment with your GP (usually by phoning first thing in the morning or by booking a future appointment if it’s not urgent). 

Finding a GP

Most young people will eventually move out of the family home and with a change of location will need to register with a GP close to where they now live. For students, this may be a GP who covers the university, otherwise, it will need to be a GP practice in the area. During holidays if you travel back to your family home you can register as a temporary resident at your previous GP practice. https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/gps/

If you have a learning disability check with your GP about going on their LD Register and having an annual health check. 

There are other health checks you may be entitled to as you get older.  Check that your immunisations are up to date. 

Prescriptions are issued by your GP or a prescribing member of your clinical team. They may be for medication or devices. Some medications are not prescribed by your GP and must be prescribed by a specialist team at the hospital.  Normally there is a charge for each item on a prescription.  Prescriptions are free whilst a young person is in fulltime education.  Free prescriptions are available for certain medical conditions. If you are exempt, you still need to apply for an exemption certificate, which needs to be signed by your GP.  Prescription Prepayment Certificates reduce the cost if you have to pay for multiple NHS prescriptions regularly.

Finding a dentist

On the NHS, you can have treatments and services considered clinically necessary for your oral health. This includes check-ups, emergency appointments, X-rays and extractions, and restorative treatments such as fillings, crowns and dentures.    Free care includes patients under 18, patients under 19 and still in full-time education and those who fall under NHS exempt criteria. If you aren’t eligible for free NHS dental care, the cost is subsidised by the government. Dental practices won’t always have capacity to see new NHS patients. You may need to join a waiting list or be seen privately. Each practice that offers NHS appointments has a contract with the NHS to provide an agreed amount of NHS dental treatment. When there is no NHS availability you will often find private appointments available, because dentists can choose to offer their services privately.

Private dentist– As a private patient, you can have general check-ups, fillings, and hygiene appointments, and access a wider suite of services, such as cosmetic services.

Orthodontics is available on the NHS for those under the age of 18

Some dentists may be able to treat people with special needs in their surgery. However, some people may not be able to get to their dental practice because of a disability or medical condition.  In this case, the dentist should refer the patient to a more specialised dental service. Ask your dentist what is needed for a referral and if it is suitable in your case.

Finding and optician/optometrist

The NHS recommends that you should have your eyes tested every 2 years (more often if advised by your ophthalmic practitioner or optometrist).  You can make an appointment at any high street optometrist.  If you need a more specialist test, they can advise you. 

An NHS sight test is free of charge if you’re in one of the eligible groups and the test is considered clinically necessary. If the ophthalmic practitioner cannot see a clinical need, you’ll have to pay for the test privately. You’re entitled to a free NHS sight test if you are under 16 or are 16, 17 or 18 and in full-time education (this includes being taught full-time at a school, college, university or at home). You’re also entitled if:

  • you or your partner receive certain benefits,
  • you’re under the age of 20 and the dependant of someone receiving certain benefits or
  • you have a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate. 

You may also be eligible for a voucher towards the cost of glasses.

Some optometrist branches can also provide hearing tests.

Sexual health

Relationships can be confusing, and it can be difficult to understand what is and isn’t normal behaviour. Disrespectful and unacceptable behaviour can come in many forms. It isn’t limited to just physical behaviour.

For example, it’s not OK for someone to try and pressure you into sending a nude photo, or to expect the same things to happen that they’ve seen in pornography.

If someone makes you do something you don’t want to, makes you feel scared, intimidated, or tries controlling you, it’s not acceptable and is never OK.

Having sex is a big decision…..

If you don’t feel comfortable or ready to have sex or do sexual things with someone, then you don’t have to. The person you’re with should care about you enough not to pressure you or make you do something you’re not happy about.

There can be a lot of pressure from things like social media, music videos or porn to have sex, and it might seem like lots of other young people are doing it or talking about doing it. But this shouldn’t be a reason to start having sex.

Sexual consent

The age of consent for sex in England is 16. This applies to everyone.

Anybody under the age of 13 is not legally capable of consenting to sexual activity. This is an offence under the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

Consent is about giving permission for something to happen or an agreement to do something. Nobody has the right to make you go further than you want to.

You have every right to say no, at any point, whoever you’re with. If you want to have sex but the other person doesn’t, you must absolutely respect their feelings and stop.

For more information including consent, contraception, sexually transmitted diseases and sexual abuse including a video on Six simple ways to understand consent (with a sandwich):


For neurodivergent specific information – https://www.healthforteens.co.uk/sexual-health/are-you-ready-for-sex/autism-healthy-relationships-sex/

Managing my periods

Everyone is different and so you may have different symptoms, which can vary each month.

You can experience physical and emotional changes just before or during the first few days of your period.

You may:

  • Feel angry and irritable
  • Have trouble concentrating
  • Feel depressed, anxious, and tearful
  • Feel tired or have trouble sleeping
  • Experience bloating or tummy pain
  • Have breast tenderness
  • Experience nausea
  • Have headaches
  • Develop spotty skin and/or greasy hair

There are lots of things you can do to help make managing your period easier.


Feeling unwell or having an accident

What if I’m not going to my GP?  There are other options:

  • Speak to a pharmacist who can give.
  • NHS 111 (dialled from your phone) can help if you think you need medical help right now but you’re not sure what to do.  If you need to go to A&E, NHS 111 can book an arrival time so they know you are coming. An arrival time is not an appointment but helps to avoid overcrowding.
  • Minor injuries’ unit and Urgent treatment centres can help with many of the most common problems people go to A&E for.
  • Go to A&E (Accident and Emergency) – bring any medicines you take regularly with you
  • Call an ambulance– You should call 999 in a life-threatening emergency only. Life-threatening emergencies are different for adults and children.  The call handler will ask you questions to establish the reason for your call and the severity of your condition.  Calling 999 does not always mean an ambulance will be sent. You might be told it’s safe for you to make your own way to A&E, or to be seen elsewhere.
  • If it is a life-threatening emergency, paramedics or a community first responder will be sent to help.  They might arrive in an emergency ambulance; a rapid response vehicle or motorbike; a cycle response unit or a combination of the above.  The call handler will give you an idea of how long you will need to wait. https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/urgent-and-emergency-care-services/when-to-call-999/
  • First Aid– Every year in the UK, thousands of people die or are seriously injured in incidents. Many deaths could be prevented if first aid was given before emergency services arrive.  Make sure you are aware of basic first aid and where your nearest defibrillator is. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/first-aid/  

The Red Cross hold face-to-face and online wellbeing workshops that offer effective, easy-to-learn education in an informal style. Available for young people and adults, the workshops are fully funded:


Healthcare Abroad

There are 2 types of cover available.

You can apply for either:

  • a UK Global Health Insurance Card (UK GHIC)
  • a UK European Health Insurance Card (UK EHIC), if you have rights under the Withdrawal Agreement

For most people, the UK Global Health Insurance Card (UK GHIC) replaces the existing European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for new applications.  A UK GHIC and new UK EHIC are free of charge. Beware of unofficial websites, they may charge you a fee to apply.


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