Health FAQs - information and advice for families

Take a look at the frequently asked questions below but if you cannot find what you are looking for contact the designated clinical officer at gywccg.SEND@nhs.net to ask a question about the health provision in Norfolk’s Local Offer.

It depends what operation you need but more than three quarters of all surgical procedures can be carried out as day surgery.  Not everyone is fit enough for day surgery.  Careful assessment of your general health is made before booking you for day surgery.  You usually need to live within one hour drive of the hospital.  At home you need someone available to help you for at least 24 hours, access to a telephone, convenient toilet facilities and you must be registered with a family doctor.

It is recommended that you visit an ophthalmic practitioner every two years (or more frequently if advised).  This is important because an eye examination can detect potentially blinding eye conditions that, caught early, may be treatable.

An NHS sight test is free of charge if clinically necessary. It is up to your ophthalmic practitioner to decide whether a sight test is necessary. If you request a sight test and it is not considered clinically necessary, you may have to pay for it, even if you are usually entitled to a free NHS sight test. For more information visit the entitlements and cost section.

The designated clinical officer (DCO) supports the five CCGs across Norfolk and Waveney in meeting their statutory responsibilities for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities by supporting the implementation of the Children and Families Act 2014.

The DCO provides the point of contact for local authorities, early years, schools and colleges seeking health advice on children and young people who may have SEN or disabilities, and is the key point of contact between the local NHS, the Local Authority, and to help facilitate the Education Health Care Plan process.

An NHS-funded mobile sight test is where an optometrist comes to visit you in your own home or at a day centre.  If you are eligible for an NHS-funded sight test you may also be entitled to a mobile sight test. If you meet one of the criteria listed below then you may have your sight test at:

  • Home  - If you are unable to leave home unaccompanied because of physical or mental illness or disability
  • A residential or care home - If you are a resident and you are unable to leave the home unaccompanied because of physical or mental illness or disability
  • A day centre - If you cannot get a sight test at an optician's practice because of physical or mental illness, disability or because of difficulties in communicating your health needs unaided

A chiropractor is a health care professional whose purpose is to diagnose and treat mechanical disorders of the spine and musculoskeletal system with the intention of affecting the nervous system and improving health. I t is based on the premise that a spinal joint dysfunction can interfere with the nervous system and result in many different conditions of diminished health.

People with learning disabilities often have poorer physical and mental health than other people. This doesn’t need to be the case.

The Annual Health Check scheme is for adults and young people aged 14 or above with learning disabilities who need more health support and who may otherwise have health conditions that go undetected.

A personal health budget is an amount of money to support your identified health and wellbeing needs, planned and agreed between you and your local NHS team. The aim is to give people with long-term conditions and disabilities greater choice and control over the healthcare and support they receive.

Personal health budgets work in a similar way to the personal budgets that many people are already using to manage and pay for their social care.  Together with your NHS team (such as a GP) you will develop a care plan. The plan sets out your personal health and wellbeing needs, the health outcomes you want to achieve, the amount of money in the budget and how you are going to spend it. You can use a personal health budget to pay for a wide range of items and services, including therapies, personal care and equipment. This will allow you more choice and control over the health services and care you receive.

You don’t have to change any healthcare or support that is working well for you just because you get a personal health budget.

You have your operation and go home the same day.  Back at home you are looked after by relatives or friends, supported by the community healthcare team.

The first group to be able to have a personal health budget are adults getting NHS Continuing Healthcare, which is NHS-funded long-term health and personal care provided outside hospital. Children who are eligible for continuing care also have a right to have a personal health budget.

Local NHS organisations will be free to offer personal health budgets to other people if they think an individual will benefit. It is the government’s long-term aim, to introduce a right to a personal health budget for people who would benefit from it.

People with learning disabilities often have difficulty in recognising illness, communicating their needs and using health services. Research shows that regular health checks for people with learning disabilities often uncover treatable health conditions. Most of these are simple to treat and make the person feel better, while sometimes serious illnesses such as cancer are found at an early stage when they can be treated.

The Annual Health Check is also a chance for the person to get used to going to their GP practice, which reduces their fear of going at other times.

Healthwatch Norfolk represent you on Norfolk’s Health and Wellbeing Board (the strategic body that oversees all health and social care in the county) and work with the commissioners from Norfolk’s five Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), local authorities and NHS England.

They also have regular contact with providers of health and social care services across Norfolk, and work with them to ensure that your views and experiences are listened to and help inform changes.

Healthwatch Norfolk have worked hard at developing positive relationships across the health and social care system so that we can work constructively on your behalf. At the same time, if Healthwatch Norfolk raises a concern with commissioners or providers of care then they have a duty to respond to us.