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Health and Social Care

On this page you will find guidance on Health and Social Care in Cornwall - including out of county and NHS services, short breaks and support for children and young people with disabilities.

Health services in Cornwall are commissioned on behalf of all local people across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, by NHS Kernow. Cornwall has a Designated Medical Officer (DMO). For information about how NHS services in Cornwall work see below or find out more at

Social Care information about children’s social care services within Cornwall; such as Activities for Disabled children, Occupational Therapy and Residential short breaks, can be found on the Cornwall Council website.

Universal, Specialist and Out of County Support

Universal support: Children and young people’s needs are met through a range of NHS services, some are universally available such as GPs and health visiting services, and some are more specialised and need an assessment or referral from a health or social care professional to access. 

Specialist Support: NHS Kernow commissions a range of specialist services to meet the health needs of children and young people with:

  • physical or sensory difficulties
  • developmental delay or impairment
  • maintaining a healthy weight
  • speech, language and communication needs
  • difficulties with eating, drinking and swallowing
  • epilepsy
  • diabetes
  • mental health issues
  • complex and technology-dependent health care needs
  • life-limiting/ life-threatening conditions

Out of county support: Occasionally, due to the complexity of a child or young person’s health need, they have to be referred to highly specialised services which are outside Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, for example for specialist surgery.  If this is needed then a local Consultant will make the referral. The vast majority of children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities will find the support they need to meet their health needs is available locally.

Children’s and NHS Continuing Care

Children’s Continuing Care: Sometimes parents and carers need additional support to help them meet their child’s health needs – in these cases, NHS Kernow commissions additional services over and above what is already available.  For those under the age of 18 there is an assessment process called Children’s Continuing Care which may indicate that more than one agency i.e. health, social care or education need to be involved in the care.  It may also indicate that this additional support is needed to be bought by NHS Kernow.

NHS Continuing Health Care: For young people over the age of 18 there is a similar process called NHS Continuing Health Care. This is different in that if a young person meets the criteria then all of their care needs (health and social care) are paid for by the NHS. 

Some people may be eligible for a Personal Health Budget - you can find out more about Personal Health Budgets on the dedicated national website at

Information about personal budgets can be found on the NHS England website and information and help managing your personal budget, including employing PAs, and purchasing services and products, can be found on the PHBChoices website.

Providers of children and young people’s NHS services in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly

Providers of children and young people’s  NHS services in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly

Providers of Children’s and Young People’s NHS services in Cornwall: NHS Kernow commissions four main providers of children and young people’s NHS services in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. You can read more about the children’s services they offer on their websites:

In addition to the four main providers of children and young people’s services in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, NHS Kernow also commissions a range of voluntary and community sector organisations and you can read about their offer on their websites:

  • Young People Cornwall, which provides child and adolescent wellbeing practitioners, participation and emotional wellbeing support.
  • Xenzone, which provides Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Adolescents and wellbeing practitioners.
  • Intercom Trust, which provides support to those who identify as LGBT+ with mental health difficulties.
  • Penhaligon’s Friends who supply bereavement based support. Hunrosa, which provides their Sleep Wise service of sleep therapy

Social Care services

Useful information for parents and carers

Supporting Change in Partnership (SCIP) - A shared project developed by Parent Carers Cornwall and Cornwall Council, supporting families with children aged 0-18 with additional needs and disabilities, assisting you to find the help and support you need locally.

Early SupportEarly Support is a coordinated approach which brings together families and professionals to address a child/young person’s additional need or disability. Early Support TAC meetings and SCIP support can be requested by the young person, parents, carers or professionals.

Social Care assements for disabled children and young peopleAn assessment is offered to those children and young people with disabilities who are described as 'Children in Need' under The Children Act 1989. Specialist teams work with disabled children and young people who have a learning disability, physical disability, sensory impairment, complex health needs and life limiting or life threatening conditions, and their families and carers.

Direct Payments and Personal Budgets - An assessment is undertaken by a social care worker. If your child or young person is eligible for social care support or services, a Direct Payment is one way of meeting the needs that have been identified.
You can find a direct payments leaflet here.

Short Breaks and Residential ServicesThe Short Breaks Service provides county wide planned residential short breaks for children and young people with learning disabilities and associated complex needs.

Carers Need AssessmentA carer is someone who gives regular care and support to someone else and isn’t paid for it. If you’re an unpaid carer, you can have a carer’s assessment, which looks at the support you need to look after someone else.

Childrens Social Care Services

Services for Children and Young People with Disabilities 

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