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Community Paediatrics referral

Making referrals

We cannot accept self-referrals from children and young people or parents/carers. Parents can approach a professional from the list below to request a referral:

  • Health service staff
  • GPs
  • School health nurses
  • Health visitors
  • Consultants
  • Paediatric therapists
  • Children and young people’s services
  • School Special Education Needs Coordinator (SENCo)

Our dedicated helpdesk will stay in place to support you and it can be contacted  on or 0300 125 5560 Monday to Friday during office hours.

Specialist Community Paediatric Services

Specialist community paediatric services are available to children and young people where there are significant concerns about a child’s health, development or educational progress. The following general categories describe the needs for which children and young people can be referred for specialist assessment and treatment:

  • Significant concerns about general developmental progress or possible developmental disability – This may include associated severe vision or hearing impairment.
  • Impaired feeding– Only in children with developmental disability.
  • Impaired sleep– Only in children with developmental disability.
  • Epilepsy/possible seizures– Only in children already open to community paediatrics for developmental disability.
  • Impaired motor function– e.g. possible cerebral palsy, working with paediatric physiotherapists and occupational therapists.
  • Complex communication difficulties, including where autism spectrum disorder is suspected– Not isolated speech delay, working with speech and language therapists.
  • Concentration and attention difficulties– when affecting educational progress.
  • Learning difficulties restricting access to learning activities or participation in school – If educational psychology assessment of learning suggests medical assessment would be helpful (not specific learning difficulties e.g. dyslexia).
  • Prolonged absence from school on health grounds(>6 weeks).
  • Children experiencing or at risk of abuse or neglect – child protection concerns should already have been reported to the statutory agencies.

What to do if my situation changes while waiting for a referral

Over time the needs of a child and young person changes. If the difficulties have increased significantly and the young person now meets prioritisation criteria. Complete the Prioritisation Request Form and send to

Requesting a second opinion

The General Medical Council, which regulates doctors, state that all doctors must ‘respect the patient’s right to seek a second opinion’.

The Department of Health accepts that if a doctor thinks that it is in the best interest of the patient to refer for a second opinion, they should do so.   Although you do not have a legal right to a second opinion, a healthcare professional will consider the circumstances and whether a second opinion is needed.

Second opinions can be requested by a young person or their parents/carers. If you are requesting a second opinion for your child, this must be done with their consent if they are at an age and developmental level to provide this.

Do you need a second opinion:

Before asking for a second opinion, it is worth asking your clinical team to go over the assessment and plan to explain anything you don’t understand. If you have concerns, do discuss this with them. Your consultant team will be happy to explain things and in many cases there may be no need for a second opinion.

Sirona Second Opinion process:

If discussion with your consultant does not address your concerns, you can request an internal Sirona second opinion. This will involve a different clinician undertaking a clinical records review of the assessment and any interventions undertaken. This will include consideration of the following:

  • Did the assessing clinician have all the relevant information required to make a decision?
  • Was the consultation/assessment of adequate quality?
  • Was the outcome and plan communicated appropriately to the family/child?

If there are any identified concerns about the above an alternative plan will be made to address these.

Following this review, you will receive written communication regarding the outcome and whether further actions need to be completed.

Further Requests:

If you feel that the above process does not address your concerns, you may request a second opinion with repeat assessment from another clinician. Here are the routes you can consider for this:

  • Further second opinion from a Sirona clinician. This can be a re-referral from the school, or you can request this directly following the outcome of the initial second opinion as above. This will be treated as a new referral and be subject to the same referral criteria and waiting times as other children being referred for assessments.
  • You can discuss with your GP referral to an alternative NHS funded provider, including out of Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) region.
  • You can consider a Private Provider assessment either by self-referral or via your GP. Please note that costs for private assessments are not usually covered by NHS funding and that funding for medication prescribed by private providers may not be covered by your GP or the NHS.

More information on community paediatrics