Physiotherapy services for children and young people

Overview

Physiotherapy promotes an individual’s health and wellbeing, helping them to move optimally. Physiotherapy can be helpful for people of all ages with a wide variety of health conditions and children’s physiotherapists use specialist knowledge of child development and childhood conditions to treat babies, children and young people.They assess and treat movement difficulties, developmental concerns or pain, which may impact on daily activities and function. Children’s physiotherapists also treat children and young people who have short term musculoskeletal sprains and strains and help them recover after fractures. Whether these movement difficulties are from birth, develop during childhood, are associated with a long-term condition or result from an injury, children’s physiotherapists aim to help children acquire or regain functional movement skills. The focus is on helping children and young people to achieve their best possible physical function to enable participation in everyday activities at home, at school and in their community.

Our children’s physiotherapy service provides assessment, advice and treatment to children and young people from birth up to 18 years old. We provide the service in community and hospital settings, working closely with the child/young person and their family to ensure family centred care, and the wider multi-disciplinary team including doctors, nurses, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, play specialists, teachers, teaching assistants and colleagues in social care when appropriate.

Download a leaflet about physiotherapy for children from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.

Contact

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Find your ward

  • Contact

    Head of children's occupational therapy and physiotherapy

    Betty Hutchon 

    Royal Free Hospital

    Lower ground floor

    Pond Street      

    London NW3 2QG

    Email: bettyhutchon@nhs.net

    Telephone: 020 7830 2535


    Royal Free Hospital Based Service

    (enquires regarding referrals, etc) 


    Royal Free Hospital
    Lower ground Floor
    Pond Street
    London NW3 2QG
    Email: rf.childrensphysio@nhs.net or nikkishack@nhs.net
    Telephone: 020 7472 6629

     

    Ponseti service 

    (A service for babies with talipes equinovarus, structural talipes, fixed talipes and club foot)

    Royal Free Hospital

    Lower ground floor

    Pond Street      

    London NW3 2QG

    Email: rf-tr.rfh-ponseti@nhs.net

    Telephone: 020 7472 6629 or 07971 396 114

    Camden Mosaic Child Development Team 

    (A multidisciplinary service for children with complex developmental difficulties from 0-5 years.)

    Child development team 

    Kentish Town Health Centre 

    2 Bartholomew Road 

    London NW5 2BX 

    Email: melissa.zemmel@nhs.net

    Telephone: 020 3317 2200
     

    Community and mainstream school service

    (This is a community based service for children and young people from 0-18 years of age who have physiotherapy needs.  This service includes children attending a Camden school who have physiotherapy needs documented on their Educational, Health and Care plan) (EHCP).

    Kentish Town Health Centre

    Children's physiotherapy department

    2 Bartholomew Road

    London NW5 2BX

    Email: emma.dickenson2@nhs.net and wendy.levin@nhs.net

    Telephone: 020 3317 2200

     

    Swiss Cottage School service

    (A service for children and young people with complex needs attending Swiss Cottage School)

    Children's physiotherapy department

    80 Avenue Road

    London NW8 6HX

    Email: wendy.levin@nhs.net

    Telephone: 020 7483 6066

Referrals

Referral details

Babies, children and young people (0-18 years old) living in Camden or who have a Camden GP may be referred to the children’s physiotherapy team. We will also accept referrals for children and young people attending a school in Camden who have physiotherapy on their Educational, Health and Care plan (EHCP).  

Who can refer?

  • Medical staff (including referrals from other hospitals)
  • GPs
  • Physiotherapists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Camden health visitors
  • Camden schools when a pupil has an EHCP with physiotherapy needs

 
How to make a referral

Babies, children and young people can be referred by health professionals to the service through the online single point of referral (SPOR) system. For further information and guidance please contact SPOR administrator on 020 3317 2250.Babies with club foot (or talipes equinovarus) can be referred to the Ponseti service using the referral form and emailing it to: rf-tr.rfh-ponseti@nhs.net.

 

Reasons for referral

Reasons for referral could include:

  • Musculoskeletal problems eg sports injuries, strains, sprains and recovery if movement is lost after a fracture
  • Physical disabilities related to neurological and neuromuscular conditions eg cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy
  • Difficulties associated with balance and coordination
  • Delay in acquiring motor skills
  • Orthopaedic and rheumatological conditions eg childhood arthritis, structural talipes equinovarus
  • Rehabilitation after prolonged illness
  • Congenital disorders eg torticollis, plagiocephaly, spina bifida and Erbs palsy
  • Medical conditions affecting movement
  • Down syndrome

Physiotherapy treatment may include:

  • Advice on exercise and footwear
  • General advice on activity and sport
  • Treatment eg exercises to stretch and or strengthen, work on balance, co-ordination, working on core stability and neurodevelopmental therapy helping optimise functional movement
  • For some children, physiotherapy involves splinting, casting or providing orthotics
  • Providing mobility aids
  • Postural management to ensure and maintain good posture and seating for disabled children and young people to support their function and comfort
  • Treating respiratory, orthopaedic and other conditions affecting mobility or breathing while an in-patient on the children’s ward at the Royal Free hospital. 
  • Working with those who have had orthopaedic surgery who need to be mobile to go home
  • Treating babies and young children for orthopaedic and neurological conditions.

The decision may be to:

  • Reassure and advise
  • Provide targeted activities or physiotherapy programme of exercises
  • Provide one-to-one physiotherapy
  • Provide group physiotherapy sessions
  • Refer for orthotics or specialist equipment
  • Advise on physical activity

Patient leaflets

Read our patient leaflets and publications

View all patient resources