Personal NHS budgets under review
Published on 25 September 2012 12:00 PM
Patients will soon be given the opportunity to pick and choose the NHS services they want, under a new Department of Health (DOH) initiative.
People with long-term conditions such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis and motor neurone disease will receive individual budgets, which would mirror an existing scheme where older people can allocate their own social care spending.
After trials in over 60 primary care trusts (PCTs), health chiefs have set aside £1.5 million for the possible introduction of personal health budgets nationwide. The three-year pilot scheme will be undergo a final evaluation next month and a decision will be taken on the potential roll-out.
Norman Lamb, the care and support minster, said: 'We want to ensure more care is tailored around people's individual needs and preferences. Giving those with complex health needs the control of how to spend money on their care gives them and their doctors the flexibility to try innovative new approaches to achieve better health outcomes.'
The scheme requires patients to use a separate bank account that is used only for the provision of care. Tfhey will receive their personal health budget in a direct payment, which can then be used to procure the specific help required.
Healthcare professionals are on hand to assist with the decision-making process. The budget spending is then agreed between the patient and their local PCT or clinical commissioning group. For the time being, personal health budgets are offered on a voluntary basis, although the Government wishes to widen their use in the long-term.
Mr Lamb went on to add: 'Subject to the results of the current pilot programme, our aim is to introduce a right to a personal health budget for people who would benefit from them most. The scale and pace of this will be informed by the independent evaluation.'
The £1.5 million fund is expected to keep the scheme functional until April 2013, the DOH announced. The pilot scheme has focused on patients with persistent conditions such as respiratory problems or mental health needs or those who have had a stroke. Those with long-term conditions will require ongoing care.
Copyright Press Association 2012