Specialist services (tertiary care)

1 min read

This advice applies across the UK.

If your child has a very complex or very rare condition, they might be referred onto what are called specialised services.

Large hospitals, called regional ‘centres of excellence’, provide specialised services. Examples include Great Ormond Street and the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children.

These centres specialise in conditions and treatments like cystic fibrosis, congenital heart disorders, complex neurological disorders, metabolic disorders, and some rare conditions.

Only a few centres provide specialised services. This means families often must travel long distances to access them.

Your child might receive all their treatment at the regional hospital. Alternatively, your local hospital might provide some of the care with advice from the specialised centre. This is sometimes called “shared care”. Attending the local hospital for routine check-ups and treatments can be much less disruptive to family life.

Teams from specialised services sometimes run clinics at the local hospital so families don’t have to travel so far. Whether this happens in a given area depends on equipment requirements and the number of children who need the specialised services.