In the latest of a series of blogs about Personal Health Budgets (PHBs), Jonathan Barrow explains why he went from campaigning against them to becoming a staunch advocate:
When I first heard about personal health budgets I wasn’t immediately sold on the idea.
In Basildon, PHBs have become an option for people who use mental health services. I knew that my clinical commissioning group (CCG) was looking to offer mental health services differently, but that means change, and change means potentially taking things away.
My instinct as a union man is to suspiciously think: ‘So what are you getting rid of’?
I know that personal health budgets aren’t additional money – to offer someone a budget you need to move money from somewhere else in the system. It’s not a new pot of cash to allow people to treat themselves.
To me that sounded like cutting services and perhaps that would benefit some people but surely other would lose out. I wasn’t keen.
It’s been quite a journey but I’ve really come round to the idea of personal health budgets.