Giving people control of their own health and social care budgets

As leaders from the nine Integrated Personal Commissioning demonstrator sites meet today to share early learning, Dr Linda Collie, Clinical Executive at NHS Portsmouth CCG, explains how working together with Portsmouth City Council and Age UK Portsmouth is enabling older people with complex health needs to become the real experts in their own care:

If you’ve ever been in a quiz team you’ll probably relate to questions coming up in your specialist subject.

Perhaps you’ve had a great team that turn to you as the expert and you’ve relished making your mark. Maybe you’ve been unsure, but your team mates have helped you apply your knowledge and added some extra information to make sure you get to the right answer together. Or maybe you’ve had the complete frustration of telling your team you know the right answer and they just won’t listen!

In Portsmouth, we are one of nine Integrated Personal Commissioning demonstrator areas, which means when it comes to care planning with people who have complex needs we are doing the quiz equivalent of giving you the pen.

You, the expert, are in charge of the final answers – because both your health and social care budget is in your hands.

Integrated personal budgets take away the need to label support as either health or care to determine who should be paying for it. The client holds the purse strings to both NHS and Social Care contributions and chooses the support to meet their needs, and enable them to live the best life possible – preventing their support needs escalating.

I think this is real empowerment, so I was delighted that we have the chance to drive forward these changes faster.

Our programme will start by working closely with one of our Better Care projects – we’re piloting a Living Well service with Age UK Portsmouth which aims to have guided conversations with 1,000 people over the age of 50 who have two or more long term conditions and who have been in hospital during the last year.

Living Well will help them identify the independence they would like to achieve and the barriers to this – and help them to access support in the local community.

Some of these residents will be eligible for personal budgets and, using the relationship we have built when they are ready, we’ll support them to take on the role of commissioner as well as service user.

But that’s not all. We’re gearing up to get younger adults and children who are entitled to their own budgets, accessing the skills in this team to support them in using their personal budgets too.  We have a great opportunity to develop how the local programme will support people by involving local experts, and I’m looking forward to seeing this in action.

We don’t yet know how popular personal budgets will be but we are determined to make access to them as straightforward as possible.

Personal budgets will change the culture of how we work with our local population and will drive up service providers’ standards – because an individual will have more flexibility to choose a different way of meeting their needs if they decide it’s no longer the right answer for them.

Dr Linda Collie

Dr Linda Collie is Clinical Executive at NHS Portsmouth CCG.

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