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GPs go forth

100,000 patients set to receive personal health budgets by 2020

NHS chiefs are aiming to increase the number of people receiving personal health budgets by 2,000% over the next five years under the Government’s drive to roll out the scheme to more patients with complex needs and multiple long-term conditions.

Under plans announced by the NHS England lead on implementing the budgets, as many as 100,000 patients will be given a lump sum to buy services as they see fit.

However, experts criticised the pace of the rollout when questions remained about the evidence behind the budgets and their impact on the rest of the health service.

It comes after Pulse revealed some areas were cutting existing services in order to fund the personal budgets, which can be spent on buying non-evidence based care, including holidays and summer houses

Despite this, the NHS England lead said the Government wants to ramp up the numbers of people holding a budget by between 1,000% and 2,000% by 2020.

Dr Sam Bennet, head of personal health budgets and integrated personal commissioning at NHS England said: ‘Our task looking forward is to start to map out what that looks like for each CCG and to start having those conversations about how we support that rollout over the next few years, through to a position where we need 50 to 100,000 people by 2020.’

He said that latest figures, voluntarily submitted by CCGs, showed around 4,700 people currently on personal health budget – of whom 3,700 were given direct payments.

Dr Bennet added that the aim was for more people to be given direct payments as ‘we know for the most part people who take their personal budgets as direct payments get better outcomes’.

However, Professor Peter Beresford, an expert in personalisation in social care from Brunel University, questioned the pace of the rollout when independent evidence to support the scheme was lacking.

He said: ‘The scale of the change that is being demanded that we should move from 4,700 – with less than 3,700 receiving direct payments – to 100,000 in less than five years, does not fit well with our politics of austerity.’

Professor Beresford called for a ‘fundamental review of the scheme, more independent peer-reviewed evidence and probably a change of direction’.

The controversy behind personal health budgets

may travel beach ship cruise

A Pulse investigation last year revealed CCGs had allowed some individuals to buy non-evidenced based care such as aromatherapy, holidays and a summer house.

At the same time, traditional services were having to be closed.

The investigation led NICE chiefs to say the personal health budgets programme should undergo further independent evaluation.

The BMA also called for the scheme to be reviewed

Read the full investigation here



Readers' comments (10)

  • Speechless and still glad to have walked away last year at 49yrs. Where does the money come from and how will we stop it being spent on holidays, buns and fags? I suspect a time will have to come when we are saying that some patients are no longer eligible for treatment or money due to having looked after their health so abysmally rather than throwing more money at them.

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  • And they'll be the inevitable 'GP best placed to' although we are on this one- best place to say this is a load of balls and spending money on this when we have high pt/dr pt/bed pt/nurse ratios is utterly futile and will worsen outcomes. I have the same level of evidence for my statement that personal health budgets work- exactly none.

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  • Glad I left 3 years ago aged 30!!!!

    Loving life overseas and so glad the UK seems to be flourishing without me!

    How wonderful that the most needy and vulnerable can be given bank cheques to go and spend the money they are entitled to on what they think is best for them..... who cares about the evidence heh??

    why oh why i used to i just dont care!!

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  • money well spent. why give it to the people who can provide a service to many, say like GP's, hospitals and mental health works, when you can give to individuals with such diagnoses of fibromyalgia, malingerers, I can't work because i'm to depressed or chronic back pain with no obvious cause and perfectly normal investigations. Well done. kudos.

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  • A demonstration that doctors are no longer in charge of patient's care.
    Managers champion this bulls*** as "cost effective", "innovative" all the management talk
    This is rewarding people who overuse the NHS turning up to hospitals, GPs unnecessarily. Send them on a holiday or buy them a summer house so they won't go to the just shows they do not need to be there in the 1st place.
    Charge them. Why should everyone else pay for their holiday and for wasting NHS resources?

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  • Expect them to also get charge of their own records, and then a shift to co-payment.

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  • PHBs are a Trojan Horse. Cash limits on individuals' entitlements to NHS care are on the way.

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  • At the moment once patients have spent their personal health budgets the CCG is still expected to pay for further treatment. So what is the point in doing it? Is it about deliberately bankrupting CCG's? Then copayment could come in?

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  • This comment has been removed by the moderator.

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  • These budgets are a backdoor to quack medicine. I was astounded to discover that nurses went on aromatherpay courses and also something called Healing Touch, described as "a biofield (magnetic field around the body) therapy that is an energy-based approach to health and healing." I thought this dodge was something limited to Jesus and his saints.

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