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More patients to be given control of personal health budgets from April under 'radical' plans

Patients with long-term conditions, serious mental health conditions or learning difficulties will be given control of their own budgets to improve their health and care from April next year, the NHS England chief executive will announce later today.

Speaking at the annual conference of the Local Government Association in Bournemouth, Simon Stevens will say that CCGs and local authorities will fund personal health budgets for patients, which will be key to keeping people with continuing care needs, including the elderly and frail, out of hospital.

Think-tanks have proposed that GPs should control the administration of the scheme, but it is likely that patient will be able to delegate control of their budget.

A statement from NHS England said: ‘The NHS will offer local councils across England a radical new option in which individuals could control their combined health and social care… At the same time, voluntary/Third Sector organisations will be commissioned locally to support personal care planning, advocacy and service ‘brokerage’ for these individuals enrolled in the IPC programme.

Mr Stevens will say that patients must be given ‘real power to shape their own care’.  

He will say: ‘If Beveridge was alive today he’d clock the fact that - given half a chance - people themselves can be the best ‘integrators’ of the health and social care they are offered.’ 

‘We need to stop treating people as a collection of health problems or treatments. We need to treat to them as individuals whose needs and preferences should be seen in the round and whose choices shape services, not the other way round.’ 

The scheme has come under fire from GPs after pilot schemes allowed patients to spend them on non-traditional services including  theatre tickets, ready meals and complementary therapies.

More recently, Pulse reported that academics have said PHBs are not a ‘magic bullet’ for patients or the NHS and that only the more ‘assertive’ patients will realise the scheme’s benefits.

Readers' comments (8)

  • Vinci Ho

    While the rhetoric is politically correct, it is about exactly how this money should be spent to ensure these patients can really benefit in health. This subject can be debatable and contentious. William Beveridge was not somebody just holding a banner of slogans.
    Furthermore, it is about security and guardianship of the 'patient's money' to protect against abuse and misuse as far as these vulnerable individuals are concerned . A fully accountable anti-corruption system has to be in place .

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  • @Vinci; An accountable anti-corruption system is something that doesn't seem to palatable to anybody occupying a senior managerial position in any organisation in the NHS or associated with this. It is unfortunate that there is no transparency about how much is paid per weighted patient in which Practice; section 106 money contributed by Developers is being retained by NHS England and CCGs can now at their discretion pay 'insignficant ' amounts to Contractors without consulting GP member Practices.
    A vivid example is an allocation of £186000 for Strood Practices by the Redrow developer/ Halling - Cemex site/. The NHS Trust members did 'unofficial' consultations with a few Practices bypassing others in Strood. CCG and NHS Trust denied knowledge of any consultations. Only under FOI, NHS England agreed that money the amount had been received but failed to state which Practices were consulted and why exceptions were made arguing that these were 'unofficial consultations' which justified discrimination of other Practices. They did not use the word ' discrimination' but that's what it was.
    Even the ICO failed to get the information from them and felt this was correct that if consultations were 'unofficial' they had no influence over NHS England keeping a shroud of secrecy. Till date - it's almost a year, nobody has seen this money being invested in Strood Practices.

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  • Vinci Ho

    Of course, principles are just principles. When you have a hierarchy with bureaucrats and politicians who do not respect principles, the 'reality' bites in. That is why rhetoric stops only at the level of political correctness, nothing more .
    Any ethos like this , no matter how noble, can only be fulfilled in the presence of a government of trust and credibility. That's the reason why we do not believe in care.data.......

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  • In the highly unlikely event that the spend on services was reduced as a result of this plan it would most likely be countered by the cost in administration anyway.

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  • Vinci Ho

    That is why the big picture is so often not as simple as politicians like to 'paint': delay in cancer diagnosis , screening for dementia, care.data,........
    William Beveridge talked about ignorance as one of the five Giant Evils. These days ignorance of the public carries a different meaning: deliberatively or accidentally misguided education is even worse than ignorance........

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  • Oh Simon, I thought you were different.

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  • Why do GP's have to be involved in this at all? Are we paid for this in our contract to be a part of this. I will have nothing to do with this unless I am paid a fee per patient to help out with this. My reply " I am not trained in this and have no idea if this will help the patient". back in your court.

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  • This is simply a way for social care (which is falling apart due to Govt cuts) to access the funds in the NHS under the banner of patient choice.

    The only patient choice on offer here is the choice of the private provider as to which patients they will choose to cover.

    Integrating social and health care can only work if it is properly funded..... this will never provide proper funding it will simply rob the NHS to pay for social care. And somehow this will all be the GP being responsible, blamed and slated for a government hiding cuts.

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