Psychological Medicine Service & National Tourette Syndrome Clinic

The Psychological Medicine team consists of doctors and psychologists who help children with a combination of physical illness and symptoms, and mental health difficulties. We also run the national Tourette syndrome clinic and coordinate the Intervention Service.

About the Psychological Medicine Team:

We work in the overlap between physical health and mental health, so have a neuropsychologist, Dr Tara Murphy and a neuropsychiatrist, Dr Isobel Heyman, on the team.

The team works to help children where medical tests have not fully explained the severity or impact of symptoms: ‘medically unexplained symptoms’, helping detect and treat any psychological difficulties and maximising function. 

We are happy to receive internal or external referrals from professionals, where there are concerns about the mental health of a child with physical illness/symptoms. Other members of the department may be involved in the assessment and treatment of children and families depending on individual needs.

A key step is detecting and diagnosing a mental health problem if it is present. They can often be common difficulties such as depression, anxiety, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or behavioural problems. These problems have effective treatments that have been tested and are known to work, which are often called evidence-based, and these are our first-line treatments.

All children with long-term physical illness may have mental health needs. But children with neurological symptoms and problems are even more likely to often have emotional, behavioural and learning difficulties than children with other conditions. These psychological problems often have a significant impact on both the child and their family, and their school experience. These problems are nobody’s fault and may be related to the underlying neurological problem, but they are often easily treated.

What do the Psychological Medicine team do?

  • We aim to identify emotional, behavioural and learning difficulties, and to offer the best, most effective treatments.
  • We work closely with paediatricians, neurologists and other doctors so that psychological treatments are a fully integrated part of overall care.
  • The children and adolescents we work with are aged 0-18 and have physical illness or symptoms, especially neurological problems.
  • We get involved because emotional, behavioural and learning problems are getting in the way.

Examples of the difficulties we work with include: 

  • epilepsy
  • non-epileptic seizures
  • neurological symptoms that may be related to stress e.g. conversion
  • stroke
  • encephalitis
  • head injury
  • demyelinating disorders

Paediatricians, neurologists, psychiatrists and other health professionals may ask for our input in assessing any emotional, behavioural and learning difficulties. This might be because a child is unhappy, angry, withdrawn or tired, to the extent that it is affecting daily life.

A detailed assessment will be carried out to identify any problems. Find out more here.
Meet the people you'll meet at the Psychological Medicine Service & National Tourette Syndrome Clinic.
We are happy to receive internal or external referrals from professionals, where there are concerns about the mental health of a child with physical illness/symptoms.
We hope you find our service useful and in order to carry on improving our services, we will ask you to complete questionnaires before, during and after treatment.

We have an ongoing programme of research, and you or your child may be invited to take part in a research project whilst under the care of the team.

The names and addresses you will need to contact the department.

Find out what our groups enjoyed and learnt.

Find valuable information on Tourette syndrome across the hospital's website.