Get professional help

Start with a GP referral 

If you would like to access face to face help for your facial palsy you should visit your GP and ask for a referral to a facial palsy service or a clinician who is experienced in the management of facial palsy. Your GP must refer you to an NHS or private hospital which has a specialist facial palsy service and you can state your preferred hospital to receive treatment.

If you wish to seek physiotherapy contact the facial therapy specialist team.

Some challenges 

    • The problems and complex range of symptoms associated with facial palsy may not be completely understood by your GP or the health care professional involved in your diagnosis.
    •  In the UK there are times when it is difficult for people with facial palsy to get funding for approved treatments including physiotherapy and speech and language therapy.
    • Currently, many people diagnosed with facial palsy in the UK lack access to appropriate and timely treatment from health care professionals who are experienced in the management of facial palsy.
    • One of the main hurdles is the perception that facial palsy is simply a ‘cosmetic’ problem rather than a medical condition which requires a multidisciplinary approach to address all the potential problems encountered when living with facial palsy.  This may inhibit people from seeking and receiving face to face help.
    • Some treatments, such as botulinum toxin injections, for the management of synkinesis and muscle overactivity, are thought to be of cosmetic benefit only. This response reflects a lack of knowledge on the part of the referrer because treating synkinesis and overactive muscles with botulinum toxin can improve facial expression, eating, drinking, speech and confidence. This enables people to participate in activities previously avoided such as returning to work or socialising.
    • Unfortunately, there are major inequalities in service provision for facial palsy across the UK and also a person’s ability to access these services.  This includes physiotherapy, botulinum toxin injections for synkinesis, and surgery to improve facial symmetry.  In England, a person with facial palsy will need a GP referral to access treatment.
    • The patient and their GP may be unaware of the range of treatment options available to people with facial palsy.

What you should do if you are denied access to treatment

You should contact your local Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS).  They can give you information on how to make a complaint which you should pursue to have your case heard.  When a patient challenges the decision to refuse treatment or referral for treatment, this is usually dealt with by local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) and other healthcare funders.  This is done on a case-by-case review basis.

Useful contacts  

Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

Read more

Useful websites

Crisis resources