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Personal health budgets key contributor to integration

In a recent article in The Guardian, 'Budget cuts lend impetus to integrating health and social care' on 6th November, personal health budgets has been yet again acknowledged as a key part of how social care and health services will take on challenges of the future and ensure that patients are truly at the centre of any care plans.

The article, while discussing the challenge of reducing budgets and increased funding pressures, raises the issue of the importance of integration across NHS, government and social care if these organisations are going to be able to make better use of diminishing resources while still providing better support for vulnerable people.

The problem however, is ensuring that the changes needed go ahead despite inertia within the organisations involved and some disquiet by a public concerned over change.

Within this framework, personal health budgets are however seen as a 'must have'. The article acknowledges its role as a key driver of ensuring the service user's voice is heard and that personal budgets are enabling not just an integration of services but an integration of services with a persons life. Personal budgets can also play an important role in reducing dependency and cost by moving power from institutions to individuals and encouraging service providers to listen to what people want.

This is quite a sea change with care services having been too ready to take a paternalistic approach to people's needs, which has crushed independence and pushed up costs.

Now however, the need for better integration combined with support in place to enable people to live their lives as they choose, has ensured that personal budgets are very much integral to any change within social care now and in the future.

To read the full article visit http://www.theguardian.com/social-care-network/2013/nov/06/breaking-ground-in-ingtegrated-care

Last Updated : 12 November 2013. Page Author: Laura Bimpson.