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In Control welcomes freedom to design our own health care

Norman Lamb, Minister of State for Care Services, has today set out the Government's intention to allow people to control the spending of funding allocated to them for health. The announcement follows the positive results of a pilot project, which has shown that with a personal health budget, people's quality of life can improve and visits to hospital can decrease.

National Charity, In Control, pioneered the concept of personal budgets in social care and is the main strategic partner to the Department of Health Personal Health Budgets programme. In 2013 it will be launching a new Health Membership Programme, to help PCTs, CCGs and other organisations to successfully implement personal health budgets.

In Control CEO, Julie Stansfield said: "We are extremely pleased, as we know many families will be, to see such strong evidence that enabling people to self direct their health support via personal health budgets is making a positive difference.

"Over the past four years we have worked with NHS staff across the country promoting and developing self directed support and personal budgets. Through these pilots we have seen a variety of people receive a personal budget and witnessed what a positive difference this has made to their lives.

"This is a fantastic achievement and it is welcome news that, very importantly, there are plans to expand the use of personal health budgets, regardless of the condition and logically, dependent on the level of need. "

"More families will now have the opportunity to gain choice and control over their own care."

Care and Support Minister, Norman Lamb said:  "The evaluation shows that those with the greatest needs benefit most from personal health budgets. That's why we are giving people on NHS continuing healthcare the chance to get one first. And, I hope more people who could benefit will be given the option of one."

The husband of Elaine Cotterill, from St Helens, Merseyside, currently receives a direct payment from the local council. She said: "It is such a relief to see that personal health budgets are moving forward. I have been told that if my husband's health deteriorates any further, that we will no longer be able to have a direct payment through the council as he will be classed as requiring continuing health care.

"We were dreading this, as it means we could lose the direct payment and  therefore the control we currently have, including the personal assistants we employ that allow John to stay at home with his family where he belongs. This announcement gives us hope now, that as and when John needs continuing health care, we can continue to self direct our support, stay in control and stay together as a family."

The important, not to be missed, factors in implementing personal health budgets have been laid out in an In Control publication, Personal Health Budgets for Continuing Healthcare: 10 features of an effective process by Vidhya Alakeson.

www.in-control.org.uk/media/119345/10 features of an effective process final.pdf

In further developing work, Health POET and In Control's new Health Membership, In Control is collating findings from personal health budget holders that highlight the positive impact that freedom and control are having on families.

For more information about I Control's expertise and work in health, visit: www.in-control.org.uk/health

Last Updated : 16 January 2013. Page Author: Donna Godding.