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Designated Clinical Officer (DCO)

The Designated Clinical Officer (DMO), Designated Medical Officer (DMO) and Nurse for SEND

My name is Andrea Ferns and I am the Designated Clinical Officer for Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) for Kingston and Richmond. By training I am a children’s and adult nurse and I have worked with children and young people (CYP) across health and education for a long time. I am employed by NHS South West London Integrated Care Board (ICB).

I work closely with the Designated Medical Officer for Kingston (Dr Divya Pore) who is an experienced paediatrician and the SEND Nurse, Nicola Bradshaw in Richmond. We work together to support health colleagues across Kingston and Richmond to ensure CYP aged 0 to 25 years with SEND have the right health support. We are working closely with the South West London Integrated Care System DCO/DMO network.

The roles of DCO and DMO were developed as part of the Children and Families Act and there are 3 key areas of responsibility:

  • Ensuring an oversight of health needs and provision.
  • A coordination role in terms of service providers and partner organisation
  • A strategic role within joint commissioning of services and the local area participation and engagement strategy.

As Designated Clinical Officer this means I will be involved in:

  • Working closely with Achieving for Children to think about the experience of CYP and families who have Special Educational Needs and Disabilities including work around the quality of education, health and care plans
  • Working alongside the commissioners and stakeholders including parents, CYP, to identify and raise any commissioning gaps
  • Supporting the commissioners and senior leadership team with regards meeting and assuring the SEND health requirements
  • Attending Education, Health and Care Panels to support decision making about children who receive plans and the content of the plans
  • Supporting health professionals with the information required within the assessments and education colleagues to access the correct information and support
  • Signposting education professionals to health services and professionals for advice
  • Participating in processes to ensure we consider requests for those with highly complex health needs including continuing care

Concerns and complaints about health services

If you have a formal complaint about a health service your child or young person has received, please contact the local health providers via their formal complaints process. This will usually be described on their website. Or you could try their patient advice and liaison service (PALS) team.


Please do contact me if you have queries around your child’s experience.

Andrea Ferns

Designated Clinical Officer for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

Email: [email protected]

NHS South West London Integrated Care Board (ICB)

Thames House

180 Teddington High Street

TW11 8HY