Personal Health Budgets

A new development announced by Norman Lamb, Care and Support Minister, in the last few days is the roll-out of Personal Health Budgets.

These budgets, which have been piloted in 20 projects over the past three years, enable individuals to have more control over the treatment provided by the NHS, as they are given an amount of money with which to pay for their package of care and support.

Independent assessment of the pilots showed that controlling their own health budgets improved peoples quality-of-life, and decreased the number of times that they needed to attend hospital.

It is the people with the greatest health needs that felt most benefit in the trials, so personal health budgets will initially be directed towards those 56,000 people who already receive NHS Continuing Care, along with others who clinicians believe would benefit from the additional control and flexibility. Bean counters have calculated that there could be savings of about £90 million, if half of those eligible for NHS Continuing Care choose to take up a Personal Health Budget.

People with long-term conditions could also benefit from the roll out, and Mark Goldring, Chief Executive of Mencap, had this to say: “People with a learning disability continue to experience poorer health and poorer healthcare than the general population. We welcome the introduction of Personal Health Budgets, which will give people with a learning disability the power to choose the health care that they need, and which will hopefully act as a positive step towards ensuring they receive the best health treatment possible.”