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Personal health budgets to be rolled out

People receiving continuing healthcare support from the NHS will have the right to ask for a personal health budget by April 2014.

The announcement has been made by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley and it will give tens of thousands of people who receive NHS Continuing Healthcare - those assessed to have complex health and care needs - more choice and control over their care.

Commenting on the announcement, Andrew Lansley, said: "Personal health budgets clearly fit with the future direction of a modern NHS - an NHS which focuses on quality and gives patients more control and choice.

"[Personal budgets] allow people to work with the NHS so that they can receive more personal, more tailored care which fit with an individual's life and uses resources most effectively.

"This is a solution which must come as part of a cultural shift for doctors, healthcare professionals, providers and patients which sees the patient as an equal partner in decisions about their care. It will personalise the NHS and provide more integrated high quality care across health and social care."

Rita Brewis who leads In Control's health work, said: "In Control wholeheartedly welcomes the latest announcement from the Health Secretary which will open up the possibility of many thousands of people having more power and control over decisions over their health care, and contributing their creativity and ideas to improving or maintaining their health and wellbeing as active participants. We hope that the overall drive for a changed relationship between the NHS and people with ongoing health conditions can evolve across people with a range of illnesses.

"What will be important, from our perspective, is that in time this approach is available for everyone who wants to have more say in the decisions which are effecting their day-to-day lives. We think that those decisions will be most effective when they are informed by best professional health advice on treatment options synthesised with what matters most from an individual's perspective. It will also be  necessary for people to have sufficient advice, information and support to enable them to pick up as much or as little shared responsibility for their health care in a way that works best for them. Peer support and information about how other people have achieved good outcomes will be another vital aspect of this evolution in health care."

There are currently over 1,300 people receiving personal health budgets within the Department of Health pilot programme for a range of conditions; long-term illness; mental health; end of life care and NHS Continuing Healthcare.

Those eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare will be the first group to receive personal health budgets, building on early evidence from the pilots as well as existing demand from this group - many of whom want to keep the control they have for managing their care within social care.

The announcement follows the independent NHS Future Forum report which recommended action to promote personal budgets and implement them within five years to give patients access to tailored services.

Early feedback shows that individuals have already experienced benefits with personal health budgets from using exercise classes to treat depression or enabling people who need 24/7 care to employ and train their own carers rather than relying on expensive agency staff.

See our webpages for information about our work to implement personal health budgets.

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Last Updated : 05 October 2011. Page Author: Laura Bimpson.