About us

Our service offers a child and family-centered approach to children and young people from 0-18 years of age who are registered with a GP in Hertfordshire and who have a physical disability or condition that impacts on their development and their functional daily activities at home or in school.

Children’s physiotherapy is a specialist team providing services to children and young people to promote health and preserve and improve the best possible functional level of the child or young person.

Children’s physiotherapists have an understanding of:

  • child development
  • childhood diseases and conditions that may impact on physical development and wellbeing
  • therapeutic interventions that enable and optimise development and wellbeing
  • the need to place the child at the centre of planning
  • the impact that having a sick or disabled child has on family life.

The children’s physiotherapy service is staffed by qualified physiotherapists who are supported by assistants and administrative and clerical workers.

All physiotherapists are registered with the national regulatory body, Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) which maintains an online register of all physiotherapists meeting the required standards. www.hpc-uk.org

For more information on how we work, please see our children and young people’s therapy page.

Poster with information about the service  Please click here to view an accessible version of the document
Leaflet about the service  Please click here to view an accessible version of the document
Details of the service offer  Please click here to view an accessible version of the document

How the service is provided

Children’s physiotherapists provide a range of assessments, treatment, advice and support to children and young people.

They are part of the multi-disciplinary team focussing on the needs of the child or young person and their family and they do this by working across a variety of settings with other professionals from health, education, social care and the voluntary sector.

Whilst physiotherapists are mainly based within community clinics or child development centres there are times when they may visit children and young people in their schools or homes if necessary.

We offer specialised assessments and various treatment approaches according to the identified needs of the child or young person including:

  • advice regarding positioning, postural management, splinting and specialist equipment
  • advice regarding specialist children’s orthotics
  • individual home and/or school physiotherapy programmes
  • the Bobath approach which is used for children with neurological conditions (a treatment method for children with cerebral palsy)
  • advice and support for home and school regarding mobility and access issues

This service supports children and young people with recognised difficulties and/or impairments including those with specific conditions such as:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Duchenne muscular dystrophy
  • Spina bifida
  • Juvenile idiopathic arthritis
  • As well as other difficulties including gait anomalies, developmental delay and motor coordination difficulties. 
  • Physiotherapy and occupational therapy provision within Hertfordshire special schools.

Physiotherapists also provide a service into special schools for the pupils that require physiotherapy. This helps to prevent your child having to miss long periods of education to travel / attend therapy appointments, it also supports care to be integrated into the child’s school day, and enables training to be provided to the school staff. To find out more about our special school provision please click here

This page contains information and help; however we also have a dedicated telephone number which parents, carers and professional can call to speak to a therapist about a new referral or child’s development.

The advice line number is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Please leave a message on our advice line - 01923 470680 option 3, option 1 - and a therapist will contact you. Calls are responded to by a therapist on weekdays.

Who is eligible for the service

  • Children and young people registered with a GP in Hertfordshire
  • Referrals can be made by any NHS healthcare professional

What will happen at your appointment

Initial appointment

Initial appointments usually last between 1 - 1½ hours depending on the age of your child.  You or another adult with parental responsibility will need to attend this appointment and provide consent for us to treat your child.  In most cases the appointment will be with one therapist, although at times you may be asked to give your permission for a student to observe the appointment.  If you would rather not have this other person present please tell us.  If other professionals are involved in your child’s care they may also be at the appointment and this will be discussed and agreed with you at the start of the appointment.

The assessment process will involve:

  • talking to you about your child’s developmental history and listening to any concerns that you have about your child/young person’s functional skills
  • assessing what your child or young person can do and what their needs are. This may include the use of standardised tests which will help measure your child’s performance against national age norms for each activity

After the first appointment

Following your child’s assessment the physiotherapist will discuss their findings with you and talk to you about further intervention if this is required. Advice will be given to you on how to help your child with their development and a summary of the assessment that has been carried out and the treatment that is suggested will be provided. We will also ask your permission for the findings of this assessment and any advice given to be shared with other professionals involved in your child’s care and development, such as your GP or staff at your child’s school.

If your child or young person requires on-going treatment with us this will be discussed with you and may include one or more of the following:

  • advice for use at home and for school
  • individual/group treatment sessions
  • reports for other health and education services
  • assessment and recommendation of specialist equipment

Your child will be discharged from physiotherapy when it is agreed that their therapy goals have been met and/or they are able to continue to develop their skills with the support of family and education.

Clinic guide videos

More clinic guide videos to follow

Useful information

The children’s physiotherapy service has provided some resources for parents and people who work with children. This is general advice on commonly seen conditions, as well as exercise ideas designed to overcome some of the gross motor difficulties in everyday activities.

Have you heard of the Local Offer?  If you are a young person with, or have a child with special educational needs and disabilities, (SEND) the Local Offer is Hertfordshire’s central source of information for SEND services and support. Visit www.hertsdirect.org/localoffer for an easily accessible one-stop shop.

Making a referral

Your child will need a medical referral from an NHS healthcare professional to access this service, for example a paediatrician, health visitor, children’s nurse, occupational therapist, speech and language therapist or GP. Health professionals using SystmOne will be able to make an electronic referral.

Please note that children over eight years old with musculoskeletal (MSK) difficulties are usually seen by the Adult MSK service.

All referrals are to be made via the CYP physiotherapy referral form. HCT do not accept paper referrals. GPs can continue to refer into CYP Therapies Services using either the Digital Referral form, Ardens or DXS.

If you have any queries or experience any issues when making a referral, please contact the Children's referral hub:
01923 470680 Option 2 or hct.cypspecialistservices@nhs.net.

Families and children and young people with long-term conditions who have been seen by the children’s physiotherapy service for an episode of care and discharged, can self-refer back for further support via our advice line. For more information, please see our long-term conditions leaflet.

Patient experience

If you would like to share your story, please contact the Patient Experience team on 01707 388036 or email hct.patientexperienceteam@nhs.net

We would also love to hear about your experience on our service, please complete a survey by clicking here.