Integrated Personal Commissioning Programme expands to improve services for millions with complex needs

An NHS England scheme to transform care for millions of disabled people and people those with long term conditions is being rolled out to six new areas across England.

From today, Birmingham and Solihull, Nottingham City, Hertfordshire, Islington, Sheffield and Nottinghamshire will become early adopters in NHS England’s plans to improve care for people with complex needs.

The Integrated Personal Commissioning (IPC) programme is aimed at joining up health, social care and other services, including the voluntary and charity sectors, to help people, carers and families have more control over their care needs. It will help ensure that, as health services move towards more local commissioning, those with the most serious needs can still access the best care for their circumstances.

The programme, in partnership with the Local Government Association, is already working in 12 areas of the country and helping adults and children with issues including severe mental health problems and complex learning disabilities and/or autism. These demonstrator sites have shown that IPC could eventually be the main model of community care for up to five per cent of the population – over 2.5 million people.

A key part of the IPC programme is increasing the number of people with a personal health budget. NHS England has set a target of at least 50,000 PHBs in place by 2020/21 and one person to benefit from this approach is Mark Burrows from Wigan.

Mark’s life profoundly changed when he was assaulted in 2012, leaving him with permanent brain damage, unable to speak and in a wheelchair. He eventually moved out of residential care to live independently in his specially adapted accommodation thanks to the flexibility of a personal health budget.

Michelle Romdhani, Mark’s sister, described the difference a personal health budget has made to Mark’s care: “The Personal Health Budget helped to save Mark’s life which in turn gave him a fun-filled, happy life rather than just existing. It hasn’t only improved his health and wellbeing, but also that of his family.

“Mark feels safe and secure now he’s lives in his own environment, with people that understand his complex conditions and we have worked hard at building relationships with health professionals who recognise we are also experts in Marks health.”

James Sanderson, NHS England Director of Personalisation and Choice, said: “We know people want a greater say in their own care and that of their loved ones. These new centres will continue to bring more choice to people across the country and are a big step in joining up health, social care and the voluntary and community sector to improve the lives of people with the most complex needs.”