Moving to adult health services

How to prepare for when health services change at age 18.


  1. Overview
  2. Non specialist care
  3. Specialist care
  4. Mental health care
  5. Further information


Health services change when your child becomes an adult.

Moving into adult health services is part of 'preparing for adulthood'.

Preparing for adulthood is an ongoing process. It should not be considered as a single event.

As your child grows through their teenage years, you should look ahead together to plan for their independence and adult life.

It is important to start having conversations with your child and the professionals involved with them.

  • If your child has SEND
    If your child has SEND, you should start preparing for adulthood when they are 14 years old.
  • If your child has an Education, Health and Care Plan
    If your child / young person has an Education Health and Care Plan, from year 9 their Annual Reviews from must focus on preparing for adulthood. This should include support for staying healthy in adult life.
  • When your child is 16
    When your child is 16, they have the right to make decisions for themselves if they have the capacity to do so. See preparing to make your own decisions.

Non specialist care

If your child does not need specialist health care and is registered with a GP, you should discuss with your child and their GP how their individual needs can be met.

GPs will have their own policies and procedures that they follow.

You may want to discuss how appointments can be made and who can attend them.

Specialist care

Young people that have complex health needs may have a paediatrician and other medical practitioners involved in their care.

There will be changes to how care is co-ordinated for these young people.

A transition plan may be developed to support your young person through this process.

You should discuss this with their paediatrician or key practitioner.

Mental health care

In South Tyneside the Lifecycle service can offer support for mental health needs for all ages.

This means there is no transition period for young people using this service.

If a young person is accessing more specialist support through the Children and Young People's Mental Health Service (CYPS), and they need continuing support as adults, a transition support package will be developed with them.

Further information

Our guide to preparing for adulthood has advice about what your child should be doing and thinking about to prepare for adult life, including moving to adult health services.

If you would like more information or support with preparing for adulthood, contact SENDIASS.

The Preparing for Adulthood website also has more information and advice.