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Delivering what matters most to people

As the Personal Health Budgets team welcomes applications from patients and families to join the Peer Leadership Academy for 2016-17, NHS England’s Lived Experience Lead explains the importance of embedding co-production into national initiatives to give people more choice and control over their care:

Since last year, I’ve been pleased to work directly with the teams at NHS England who are overseeing the policy and delivery of personal health budgets and Integrated Personal Commissioning across the country.

My interest in this area began a number of years ago when my son, Mitchell, became one of the first people in the country to receive a personal health budget. This was managed successfully until he passed away last year.

The Personal Health Budgets and IPC teams at NHS England are tasked with making PHBs a reality for 50,000 to 100,000 people by 2020. This will meet the Government’s 2016-17 mandate to the NHS, and take PHBs and personalisation one step further through Integrated Personal Commissioning.

IPC aims to create and deliver on a wider framework or model of care, described in the recently published IPC Emerging Framework, which outlines an approach to creating personalised care, including the use of personal budgets, for people with complex needs.

There is much forward momentum with both PHB and IPC, and the team are now starting to invite early adopters for national roll-out from next month onwards.

For me, a golden thread running through this work is the need to ensure that all new initiatives and approaches to implementing personalised care, that is care that is truly centred around the individual, are co-produced with people who have direct experience of the systems we are trying to change.

I’ve been delighted to see from the outset co-production has been an essential component of both the PHB and the IPC Programme.

Co-production isn’t always done well, so it’s been good to see that co-production is becoming ingrained in the usual way of doing things.

Take, for example, the opportunity for people to apply to take part in our Peer Leadership Academy for 2016-17. Run in partnership with NHS England and Peoplehub CIC, the academy will provide a group of people with lived experience of personal health budgets and personal budgets the opportunity to develop their knowledge, skills and confidence in order to play an active role in the IPC and Personal Health Budgets programmes at a national and regional level.

The deadline for applications is Monday 6 June, and an application form can be downloaded from the Peoplehub website.

I’m also excited about the new IPC Strategic Co-production Group, which offers people with lived experience an opportunity to be involved in IPC at a strategic level. With direct links to the programme board and the national team, this group is ensuring that IPC is clear, empowering, outcomes focussed, and ultimately that it makes sense to people.

The group consists of people like Colin, whose dad had a personal health budget, and Mel from Lincolnshire one of the IPC demonstrator sites, whose personal social care budget for her mother has enabled her mum to continue living in her own home with support.

For them and for me, co-production is about modelling the changes the IPC programme intends to put in place. This means creating trusting partnerships that cross the divide at every level of the system – the divide between health and social care, between the IPC Programme and people with lived experience, and ultimately between health professionals and the people and communities they serve.

I am confident the IPC Strategic Co-production Group will bring invaluable, experiential learning, and together with the Peer Leadership Academy and other work we are doing to embed lived experience, will enable us to successfully balance system level priorities with the priorities that matter most to people.

You can keep in touch with what the programme is doing to involve people and their families via Twitter @IPCEngland @NHSPHB, or by contacting me directly.

Jo Fitzgerald

Jo Fitzgerald is a co-founder of Peoplehub Community Interest Company, a network of people with direct experience of Personal Health Budgets.

Peoplehub was set up in 2012 to give a voice to people who want, or already have, a personal health budget. It aims to connect and empower people and to influence the development of personal health budgets by working collaboratively with NHS England and other partner organisations.

Jo’s life was profoundly transformed when Mitchell was born in 1992 with a severe disability and complex health needs. The experience of being Mitchell’s mum has largely influenced the direction of her life; it has shaped her beliefs, values and life choices. Mitchell was one of the first people in England to have a personal health budget and has spent the last six years actively spreading the word.

Jo leads the National Personal Health Budget Peer Network for NHS England and is a regular speaker at national events.