Care leavers - Health Services

We recognise that your physical and mental wellbeing is of high importance to ensure you can succeed in any activities you undertake. This includes knowing what services you can contact, staying active and moving into adult based services if appropriate.

For emergency treatment you will need to go to your local accident and emergency department or ring 999 and ask for an ambulance. If you live in North or West Cumbria you can find out about A and E services by visiting North Cumbria University Hospitals' website and if you live in Kendal or South Cumbria you can visit University Hospitals Morecambe Bay's website. 

For non-emergencies you can call the NHS 111 service for advice and signposting.

To be able to access a doctor you need to register with a General Practice or GP surgery in your local area. If you use NHS England's website, you will be able to search for GPs in your local area. Information about how to access a Doctor / GP service
CHOC - is Cumbria Health On Call and is a service which provides out of hours care for any urgent but non-life-threatening conditions. You can call the NHS 111 helpline 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Calls are free from landlines and mobiles. Telephone staff will assess your symptoms and immediately direct you to the best medical care. Information about CHOC

Once you have registered with a dentist, you should visit regularly for a check-up. Your dentist will be able to advise you how often you need a check-up. If you are under 18 or under 19 and in full time education or training you can qualify for free NHS dental treatment. If you are entitled to free NHS dental care, you should be able to claim back the cost of any treatment by keeping all receipts. However, you will need to budget for any dental costs once you are over the age of nineteen. 

You will also be eligible for free dental services provided by the NHS for the period in which you are pregnant and the twelve month period after you give birth.

You can also receive free dental care if you are receiving low income benefits. Your local NHS dentist will be able to help you understand what you are entitled to.

However, if your teeth, mouth or gums are causing uncomfortable pain or discomfort you can access unscheduled or emergency dental care. Please call the following dental direct numbers for these services.

  • North Cumbria: 01228 603900
  • South Cumbria: 01539 716822 (after 5.30pm call 01229 402680)
The NHS Choices Website contains lots of useful information on keeping your teeth, gums and mouth healthy and preventing disease. In addition, the Eatwell Guide has lots of useful information on eating the right balance of different food groups to maintain a healthy diet. This can be accessed through searching for the Eatwell Guide online.

Our eyes rarely hurt, even if there is something wrong with them, so ensuring you have regular eye tests is important to help detect any potentially harmful conditions. You should get your eyes tested every two years to ensure they are healthy and not at risk. Your optometrist will advise if you need your eyes tested more often.

Sometimes, you may be referred to specialist optometrist for extra treatment. Any required treatment or referrals will be explained to you fully so you understand what this means for your eyes. There should be an opticians in your nearest large town, however, please refer to the NHS England website for more information. 

You may also be eligible for an NHS funded eye test, your optometrist will be able to tell you if you are eligible.

For more information on keeping your teeth, mouth and gums healthy, helping to prevent disease, please see the guide included below.

For lifestyle tips for healthy teeth, you can also visit the NHS Choices website which contains more information.

Important to maintaining a healthy mouth and teeth is ensuring you eat the right amounts of different food groups. Overall you should be ensuring you have a balanced diet which is low on sugar with plenty of fruit and vegetables. The Eatwell Guide shows the proportions of different types of foods which are needed to have a well-balanced and healthy diet.

In Cumbria, we have the expertise of a designated Children Looked After (CLA) Nurse who supports you until you turn 18. They are responsible for several things, including booking you in for your annual health assessment and sometimes travelling to visit you if there is an urgent need.

Shortly before you turn 18, the CLA Nurse will put together a Health Passport, which is basically your health autobiography with details of all the major events in your life that relate to your physical and mental health, as well as other important information for you, such as:

  • NHS records;
  • CLA Health Assessments; 
  • Current GP.

The CLA Nurse, after putting together the Health Passport, will send it out directly to you before you reach adulthood. However, if you don't receive your Health passport when you leave care don't worry. If you contact your personal advisor they will be able to contact the CLA Nurse and get one issued to you. Also, if you lose your health passport or need a new copy in the future your personal advisor should still have a copy on file or they can contact the CLA Nurse who can get you a copy.

If you think you are having problems with your mental health and wellbeing it is important that you contact your GP in the first instance. They will be able to advise you on a range of Mental Health Services that you can access.

The National Health Service also offers a range of National Helplines and Resources that you can access to find more information about mental health and services you can access.

Transitioning from CAMHS to Adult Mental Health Services

Your emotional health and wellbeing is just as important as your physical health and wellbeing, so we want to ensure that if you need to move into adult services this is as smooth a transition as possible. We will help you in the following ways:

  • As soon as possible, we will start to identify a transition pathway, this will be used to identify the transition destination which is best for you;
  • CAMHS services will also work with other services that might know you. This will help to ensure only one transition conversation is taking place; 
  • We will also involve you in the transition conversation, this will ensure you are aware how services are changing and where you will need to access services.

In addition, if you are over the age of 17 and are receiving CAMHS services, the MyTime service will work with you to discuss the potential need for transition to adult services for treatment. 

If you need more information, the people involved in your CAMHS care or your personal advisor will be able to help you find out more information.

Ensuring you keep up with your prescriptions is important as this will help you to stay in good health. If you are a Care Leaver below the age of 19 and are in full time education or training you will be exempt from paying prescription costs. However, if are you in receipt of benefits you may also be eligible for help with prescription costs through the NHS low income scheme. Your GP will also be able to help you apply if you are eligible.

If you are concerned about any aspect of your sexual health then you can make an appointment to access your nearest Sexual Health Service. If you access a service, this will be treated in confidence.

Treatment and advice on sexual health across Cumbria is provided in a variety of settings to meet the need. These include Sexual Health Clinics (combined GUM and Contraceptive Services), GP Surgeries, Community Pharmacies, and Inspira (previously Connexions).

All these services are completely confidential and can be accessed through your doctor or GP. More information can be found through Cumbria Partnership

Although Alcohol is legally available, along with Drugs, prolonged and extensive use can cause harm to your health and can result in a range of other social and personal problems.

If you feel that you are struggling with Alcohol and/or Drugs, Unity is an Alcohol and Drug Recovery Service operating across Cumbria. Unity will help you understand the issues that are causing your problems with Alcohol and or Drugs and give you support to manage these issues.

We will do this with our team of Experienced Staff, Peer Mentors and Volunteers and will link you in with other recovery-focused community based groups and a range of partners relevant to your own recovery. This visible Recovery Network will be your foundation for getting and staying well.

This service is for anyone over 18 who needs help relating to alcohol or drugs -through our service across Cumbria and in various other community settings. Further information about the service is available through Unity.

We also recognise for those moving into independence living, having a learning disability may make the process more complicated. Cumbria County Council publishes a separate local offer for our young people who have a learning disability. The website provides a wealth of information about opportunities and services tailored to you. We recommend you have a look at the website if you have ever had a Statement of Educational Needs, or an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) as you may be able to make use of some of the services offered.

This local offer contains a section called preparing for adulthood that has lots of useful information targeted at young people with a learning disability who are planning to transition to independence. The section is tailored at anyone between the ages of 17 to 25 years.

Cumbria's local offer for young people with a disability.