Personal health budgets will be rolled out across the country. Minister of State for Care Services Norman Lamb made the announcement on 30 November 2012, following the end of the pilot programme, and the publication of an independent evaluation report.
Personal health budgets have been piloted in the NHS for the last three years. The pilot ended in October. The evaluation report published on 30 November found that the quality of life for people with a personal health budget improved, with some even seeing a drop in their attendance at hospital. The benefits seemed to be felt more strongly by people with the highest health needs, such as those currently accessing NHS Continuing Healthcare.
The Government’s response to the independent evaluation report confirms its commitment to personal health budgets. The roll out will mean that by April 2014, up to 56,000 people receiving NHS Continuing Healthcare will have the right to ask for a personal health budget if they choose one. It is also hoped that clinical commissioning groups will offer a personal health budget to more people with a long term condition who may benefit from the additional flexibility and control that personal health budgets offer.
Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb said:
“Independent analysis has now shown that personal health budgets can put people back in control of their care and make a significant difference to their quality of life. It’s inspiring to hear the human stories of success that these budgets have brought to people. The evaluation shows that those with the greatest needs benefit most from personal health budgets. That’s why we are giving people on NHS continuing healthcare the chance to get one first. And, I hope more people who could benefit will be given the option of one.”
The Minister also announced:
- Existing pilot sites will continue to be able to offer direct payments for health care (one way of managing a personal health budget, currently only lawful within pilot schemes). A public consultation will launch later this year on updating the regulations for direct payments, with a view to enabling these across the country from summer 2013.
- The publication of a good practice toolkit that pulls together the wider learning from the pilot programme, and will give PCTs and future CCGs the practical information they need to roll out personal health budgets. It includes eight new films, soon to be published as a DVD, in which people with a budget and healthcare professionals, including GPs, share their views and experiences.
- £1.5 million funding from the Department of Health will support early rollout of personal health budgets until April 2013, when responsibility for delivery will transfer to the NHS Commissioning Board. Building on the learning and experience of the 70-plus pilot sites, regional learning hubs will help the rest of the NHS begin to introduce personal health budgets by the 2014 target. Nine areas that are ‘Going further, faster’ will demonstrate how to mainstream personal health budgets, including integrated health and social care personal budgets:
- NHS Tees
- NHS Manchester
- NHS Hull
- NHS Nottingham City
- NHS Oxfordshire
- NHS NENE and NHS Corby Clinical Commissioning Group in Northants
- NHS Lambeth
- NHS Dorset
- NHS Kent and Medway
Read the evaluation report and the toolkit, on the personal health budgets Learning Network
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