More people than ever before could benefit from personal health budgets under plans outlined today by Care and Support Minister, Norman Lamb.
A consultation, launched today, will gather views on how personal health budgets should be rolled out across the country.
Personal health budgets allow patients to have more control over the treatment they receive, for example, allowing people to employ carers directly. Patients will be able to access the budgets through their local NHS and will have to work with clinicians to decide how the money is best spent to benefit their health.
Currently, only people approved as part of the pilot scheme are able to have a direct payment for healthcare. The consultation will last for eight weeks and will consider:
- defining exactly who could be entitled to apply for direct payments for their health needs;
- what services should be excluded;
- whether there should be an option that means family members or friends can be paid for managing complex or large direct payments; and
- allowing local authorities to now make direct payments for healthcare.
Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg said: “Personal health budgets give people the freedom to plan their own care in a way that works best for them. They cover many complex conditions. A person with rheumatoid arthritis for example, could employ a carer on a flexible basis, allowing them to call on them for immediate care if they have a severe flare up. The help would keep them out of hospital, giving them a better quality of life. We made a commitment to personal health budgets in the Coalition Agreement, and this is the next step to making them a reality for thousands of patients.”
Launching the consultation, Care and Support Minister, Norman Lamb said: “We want patients to be fully involved in their care, allowing them to make decisions with their clinicians to improve the quality of their life. Personal Health Budgets help people to think outside the box in terms of treatment and how their health can be improved. This is the next step in our programme to roll out these budgets to eligible people. I would encourage everyone to have their say on how this will work.”
The consultation builds on the NHS Mandate, published last year, which sets out what the Government expects the NHS to deliver. This includes an ambitious objective for the Commissioning Board to make sure that they are offered to anyone that could benefit from a personal health budget.
- The independent evaluation of personal health budgets, published in November 2012, found that:
- Personal health budgets were cost-effective;
- People’s quality of life had improved;
- The amount of times people had to attend hospital decreased overall; and
- Personal health budgets were more effective when people had greater choice and control over what they could spend their budget on and how it was managed.