14th May 2009
Department of Health announce next stage in Personal Healthcare Budgets
On 12 May, the Department of Health (DH) announced that patients are a step closer to getting more say over their healthcare services as plans for a national pilot project reach the next stage.
Following a call for expressions of interest for sites across England to take part in the first trials of personal health budgets, 68 projects, involving a total of 75 PCTs, have been awarded provisional pilot status.
Lord Darzi first announced personal health budgets in his report High Quality Care for All last year. Under the proposals, patients will have greater involvement in how money is spent on their healthcare needs, giving them more control over what services they use and who provides them so they will be delivered in a way that best suits them.
Health Minister, Lord Darzi, said:
I’d like to congratulate those sites who have been selected as provisional pilots. There is clearly real enthusiasm and energy across health and social care for this agenda. We were very encouraged by the overall quality of the applicants and look forward to working with as many sites as possible.
During the consultation for the Next Stage Review, people said clearly and consistently that they want a greater degree of control and influence over their health and healthcare.
The main aim of introducing personal health budgets is to support the cultural change that is needed to create a more personalised NHS. They have the potential to improve the quality of patient experience and the effectiveness of care by giving individuals as much control over their healthcare as is appropriate for them.
All sites will now be subject to a robust assessment of their capability before gaining full pilot status later this year. Applications indicate that pilot sites want to look at a wide variety of areas ranging from people who have long term conditions or use mental health services to areas such as obesity or substance misuse.
Notes to Editors
1. The deadline for expressions of interest in the pilot programme was 27 March 2009. The DH received 74 applications, coming from every strategic health authority area, covering a range of services and conditions. All the applications have been subjected to a robust assessment and there was a moderation process involving external experts.
2. Once the evaluation team is in place, from July, the DH expect them to choose a representative and meaningful sample of the pilot schemes to undergo in-depth analysis, however all sites will be included in the overall review of personal health budgets. The level of funding sites will receive will depend on whether they will be involved in in-depth evaluation.
3. Once they are up and running, pilots will begin by using those forms of personal health budgets where the person does not hold the budget themselves. Instead, the PCT or a third party organisation will hold the budget on the individual’s behalf. Subject to parliamentary approval of the draft provisions in the Health Bill (currently before the Lords) to allow direct payments for healthcare, some of these site will start piloting that mechanism of delivering a personal health budget.
4. Personal health budgets could be used in a number of ways. For example:
Jo, a young woman with very challenging behaviour who reacts strongly to unfamiliar surroundings, routines or faces. Residential care has always been disastrous and she’s currently living at home. Her parents want to enable her to move into her own home. Direct payment would be to pay for support workers to work with the parents to support her to do that and overcome the challenges presented by the new environment. It would also pay for her to carry on going to the local NHS community day service centre, which she loves.
(Source – News Distribution Service for Government and the Public Sector)