27th July 2010
£4 million boost to give patients control of their health care
A pilot scheme that offers patients more choice and control over their healthcare was given a £4 million boost on 15 July by Care Services Minister Paul Burstow.
The money will be used to support personal health budget pilot sites set up and run their pilot schemes.
Personal budgets allow local NHS trusts to put individuals in control of how, where and from whom they receive their healthcare, in partnership with the local NHS.
A personal health budget can either be arranged by the NHS, an independent third party, or the individual can be given the money to buy the care themselves through a direct payment.
Through personal budgets, the Government is giving more power and control to patients – a key them of the Health White Paper “Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS” , which was published on 12 July.
Care Services Minister Paul Burstow said:
“I am fully committed to piloting personal health budgets to inform the way we implement them more widely and how we can combine them with social care budgets. We want to give people more choice and influence over their healthcare – giving them direct control of the cash is a powerful way of achieving this.
“A similar scheme has been a huge success in social care, letting people choose services that fit in with their life, rather than fitting their life around the service. Today’s investment into personal budgets for healthcare will ensure that patients using the NHS will be able to benefit in the same way.
“The evidence from social care has shown that people tend to spend less on better things for themselves. Proving that individuals can actually be better guardians of the public purse than institutions, while at the same time ensuring services suit people’s individual needs.”
This commitment comes as a DVD is launched to help councils educate staff and health partners to encourage them to introduce social care personal budgets to existing service users. The DVD shows examples of how successful personal budgets have been in social care.
The DVD reflects the full range of equality and diversity issues and demonstrate different ways of using a personal budget. It also includes an introduction from former GMTV presenter Fiona Philips whose father’s care was transformed by having a personal budget to meet his social care needs.
Personal budgets in both health and social care give people choice and control over their care and gives them real power to hold services to account.
Michael Collins, a 27 year old deaf-blind man from Oldham who receives an individual budget via direct payments said:
“Before I felt really trapped. Now that I’m on a personal budget I feel free.”
Phone: For enquiries please contact the Department of Health (DH) Media Centre on 020 7210 5221
Notes to editors
1. The DVD will be available on the new Putting People First website www.puttingpeoplefirst.org.uk which brings together information and tools to help councils and providers personalise their services.
2. Direct payments allow Primary Care Trusts to pay the personal budget directly into the patient’s bank account either as a monthly sum or as a one off payment for a piece of equipment. Personal budget can also be held by the Primary Care Trust or by a third party.
3. On 28 June, the first eight DH personal health budget pilot sites were awarded powers to offer direct payment. Today a ninth site, Hull PCT has subsequently received these powers.
4. The £4 million funding for personal health budgets in 2010/11 is at the same level as last year. This is used to provide practical and financial support.
5. The Department of Health has today launched new information on the regulations governing direct payments in healthcare, which gives clear advice to help pilots meet the regulatory requirements.
6. The first independent interim evaluation report of the personal health budget pilot programme was published today. This is based on interviews with project leads and highlights some of the challenges the pilots face and how they are beginning to overcome these. The main challenges identified include:
- setting the size and scope of the personal health budget, and funding them;
- the care planning process, and supporting people through it;
- linking together health and social care;
- developing the market, so that genuine choices are available to people; and
- managing the cultural change required.
(Source – News Distribution Service for Government and the Public Sector)