Community paediatricians are doctors experienced in child health, who see children and their families outside of hospital. Our community paediatricians are specially trained in child health and development, and assess children living in Derby and South Derbyshire.

Please see the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) website which is continuously updated.

Our community paediatricians see children for a wide variety of reasons. It may be to assess general medical problems, specific developmental problems (such as ADHD or autism), learning difficulties (if a medical or neurodevelopmental cause is suspected), complex disabilities, or sensory impairments such as visual difficulties or hearing loss. The team does not generally deal with one-off, short-term illnesses. Instead team members offer long-term support, co-ordination of services and management on a continuous basis.

Some of the team’s work is of a statutory (legal) nature, carried out under the Children Act, the Education Act and adoption regulations. The team has responsibility for preparing medical advice for education health care plans. The team also sees children who are being adopted or are in foster care.

Assessments will vary. As part of the assessment the community paediatrician may:
  • Give specialist advice on specific problems and arrange medical tests if needed
  • Work closely with many other health professionals to ensure a child receives all the help they need – those professionals might include health visitors, school nurses, GPs, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists, clinical psychologists, child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) professionals and hospital-based specialists
  • Work closely with, and give medical advice to, professionals in education and social care
  • Give medical advice to the education authority when a child’s special educational needs (SEN) are being assessed
  • Help manage the medical needs of children who are being adopted or are in foster care (looked after by the local authority).

Generally the first appointment lasts up to one hour; later review appointments are usually shorter, at around 30 minutes.

We try to hold clinics locally, to make them as convenient as possible for families. They may take place in health centres, both in south Derbyshire and Derby city, or in special schools, or in the Ronnie Mackeith Child Development Centre at Royal Derby Hospital. Sometimes a child (with their parents or carers) may need to be seen in school or nursery, so the community paediatrician can talk to their teachers about any concerns in school.

The community paediatrician will usually send a letter about what was discussed and what actions were decided should be taken.

A copy of that letter will also be sent to the family’s GP. Sometimes we also write to other professionals who are involved in a child’s care such as a child’s Speech and Language Therapist, provided the child’s parents or carers agree for us to do this.

Referrals are accepted from:
  • GPs
  • Health visitors, school nurses and specialist nurses
  • Paediatric therapists
  • Other medical consultants (e.g. CAMHS consultants, hospital-based paediatricians)
  • Social care services
  • Local education authorities
  • Police.

  • Children must registered with a GP practice in Derby City, Amber Valley, Erewash, or South Derbyshire and South Dales.
  • Children aged 0-16 years may be referred (up to 19 years if in special school placement). There may be exceptions up to 18 years of age in special circumstances, often for statutory requests. These should be discussed in advance with the team.
Developmental problems – referral criteria:
  • Developmental concern in preschool children (under five years old) following assessment by either health visitor, nursery nurse, speech and language therapist, or other paediatrician and with appropriate information
  • Speech and language problems if speech and language therapist is concerned and requests paediatric input (must be accompanied by a health visitor developmental assessment and a detailed speech and language therapist report)
  • Neurodevelopmental behaviour concerns (i.e. possible autism spectrum disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). Must be accompanied by parent questionnaire, teacher questionnaire and Vanderbilt questionnaire completed by school and parents - see the neurodevelopmental pathway page to download these questionnaires
  • Neurodisability - children with complex physical and intellectual disability, medical assessment of children with sensory impairment and palliative care for children
  • School aged children identified as having a learning disability or significant learning difficulties at school where the Educational psychologist suggests medical assessment
  • Children with coordination problems as a sole problem will only be seen after the child has received input from the physical literacy programme within schools wherever this is available (associated learning problems are managed by education).
Behaviour concerns – referral criteria:
  • Preschool behaviour problems if an autism spectrum disorder is suspected. The referral should be accompanied by the agreed checklist and referral to the speech and language therapy service should be considered at the same time
  • School age children if there are specific behaviours that might need medication and/or there are indicators of possible Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Must be accompanied by parent questionnaire, teacher questionnaire and Vanderbilt questionnaire completed by school and parents - see the neurodevelopmental pathway page to download these questionnaires.
Educational – referral criteria:
  • Statutory - medical advice for education health care plan.
Social care services – referral criteria:
  • Child protection (referrals should come from social care services)
  • Statutory looked after children/adoption work

If you are not sure whether a referral fits these priority criteria, referrers should discuss with the community paediatrician concerned or with the patch consultant as appropriate.

We are unable to accept referrals for the following:
  • Concerns about hearing, which should be referred directly to the audiology clinic
  • Concerns about growth as a sole problem, which should be referred to hospital if paediatric input is required
  • Enuresis and constipation/soiling, which is managed in school health teams with advice from the children’s continence service if needed, and referral if necessary, in addition to GP and/or hospital medical support
  • Specific learning difficulties (e.g. dyslexia) – these are an educational issue
  • Learning difficulties in school age children, which should be assessed by the school special education needs coordinator (SENCO) and/or educational psychologist.

Referrals are made through the Single Point of Access (SPOA) for specialist children’s services in Derby and southern Derbyshire. Please note – we cover Derby city and the south of the county.

To make a referral, please download and complete the forms below. Please supply as much information as possible. This will ensure that the assessment is carried out by the most appropriate professional(s). Referrals will not be processed without the completed questionnaires.

Forms to download and complete

Single Point of Access referral form - this form has the following questionnaires embedded within it, which also need to be completed:

Returning the completed forms

The completed forms can be submitted by...

Email: dhcft.SPOA@nhs.net

Post: Single Point of Access, Temple House, Mill Hill Lane, Derby DE23 6SA.

If you need to discuss a new or existing referral, the SPOA Administrator can be contacted on 0300 7900 264.

  • We are happy to discuss referrals if you are unsure as to the suitability of any referral for our service
  • Providing plenty of information can help a timely assessment. Please enclose all relevant reports that are available, e.g. speech and language therapy, previous paediatric assessments, educational reports, social work assessments, common assessment framework (CAF) forms. All children referred should have results of recent hearing and vision tests
  • Referrals onto the neurodevelopmental pathway are assessed by a multi-agency team as part of the Children's Services Single Point of Access (SPOA). Learn more by viewing our neurodevelopmental pathway leaflet and our journey plan. There is also a glossary explaining the agencies and teams involved in the pathway.

Please contact the SPOA (single point of access) administrator on 0300 7900264.