TLAP publishes new guide to help make personal health budgets work for people with learning disabilities

Think Local Act Personal has just published a guide, Personal Health Budgets: including people with learning disabilities designed to support improved understanding and practice of integrated working between health and social care.

With nearly 80,000 people* with learning disabilities already having a personal budget from their local council and a few already have personal health budgets, which are being introduced across the NHS, there is increased importance in support organisations to take an integrated approach.

This guide is therefore timely, providing examples from around England of NHS CHC teams and people from specialist learning disability service working together to better integrate health and care support for individuals. It also showcases real people's stories showing that when people and their families get the chance to write their own individual plan and have control over the money available for their support, it can help provide innovative support for individuals who may otherwise end up in high cost, poor quality residential services.

These examples of the impact on real people, such as Jason's story - who used to live in a residential unit but now thanks to his personal budget live in his own home - help to put into context how important access to personal budgets is.

The guide also shows that giving people with learning disabilities and autism control of NHS and other government money leads to better support and helps to avoid poor quality and inappropriate care - and the implementation of simple actions such as enabling greater access to independent advice and support from other families, as well as the option of a direct payment can make a real difference in take up of personal budgets and successful life outcomes for those with learning disabilities and their families.

Dominic Slowie National Clinical Director for Learning Disabilities said: "People with learning disabilities and their families can really benefit from a personalised approach and as this guide clearly shows this includes personal health budgets, even for those with the most complex support needs. People should not be excluded simply because they have a learning disability.

"Commissioners and providers will find this guide a valuable resource as they consider how to implement personal health budgets locally for people with learning disabilities."

Bridget Warr, Chief Executive of United Kingdom Home Care Association and chair of Think Local Act Personal's work on integrated budgets, said:

"This report makes a useful contribution to the overall thrust to improve understanding and practice of integrated working between health and social care; so important in ensuring that people with learning disabilities have the widest range of support options possible. The upfront allocation of the money available for people's support is crucial to this, but if managing the cash themselves is not what people choose to do, arrangements such as individual service funds are a way to maintain enhanced choice and control of their support through a chosen provider."

"Personal Health Budgets: including people with learning disabilities" was written by Sue Turner, National Development Team for Inclusion, and Alison Giraud-Saunders and was commissioned by Think Local Act Personal Partnership.

The guide can be downloaded from the TLAP website

You can also read more about In Control's Health Programme which provides support and expertise to implement NHS personal health budgets and self-directed support for children and adults: /what-we-do/health-programme.aspx

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Last Updated : 13 March 2014. Page Author: marijke.hirst.