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Support for children with complex medical needs

Support for children with complex medical needs

NHS Continuing Care is support for children and young people under 18 who need a tailored package of care because of their disability, an accident or illness

Some children and young people may have needs that can’t be met by universal or specialist services. For example, they may have a:

  • congenital condition
  • long term or life limiting condition
  • disability
  • serious illness or injury

Who arranges the support

The Children’s Continuing Care Team at the local Clinical Commissioning Group can provide a support package for children and young people with complex needs or long term conditions. They will carry out an assessment to see if the child or young person is eligible.

You can also arrange your own support through a personal health budget.

If you think your child should be assessed for NHS continuing care, talk to your social worker or doctor about this. A request for an assessment must come from a health, education or social care professional who works with your child and knows their health and care needs.

A range of official organisations provide the support including: 

  • NHS providers
  • education 
  • the council’s children’s services

Who’s eligible for continuing care funding

Any child or young person up to their 18th birthday who has a complex need may be eligible. Beyond 18 years old, the adult NHS continuing healthcare arrangements apply.

The CCG will assess any young person who gets continuing care when they’re between 16 and 17 years old to see if they’re likely to be eligible for NHS continuing healthcare when they turn 18 years old.

What care packages include

The type of support will depend on the specific health needs of the child or young person. Examples of continuing care packages include:

  • specialist nursing care in your home
  • specialist behaviour support so your child can take part in extra-curricular activities at school
  • residential care if health support can’t be delivered at home

How continuing care is linked to Education, Health and Care plans and personal budgets

The care package provided by Continuing Care should be written into your child’s Education, Health and Care plan, if they have one. If your child is eligible for Children’s Continuing Care, they also have the right to a personal health budget.

The aim of all of these care plans is to give children and young people more control over the support they get.

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