Personal health budgets could help towards the £20 billion NHS
savings needed over the next four years* according to a new In
'Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention (QIPP) and
Personal Health Budgets' identifies how personal health
budgets could contribute to the savings that need to be made by the
NHS - and improve the quality of services.
In the Comprehensive Spending Review, the Government announced its
commitment to the expansion of personal health budgets, which give
people with established health needs, choice and control over their
A programme to pilot the use of personal health budgets with 64
primary care trusts (PCTs) is currently running.
According to the report, which was produced in partnership with
NHS North West Strategic Health Authority and the North West Joint
Improvement Partnership, there are seven areas where personal
health budgets could contribute to efficiency gains and service
quality improvements in the NHS.
Involving people in decisions and
being responsive to their needs:
Expecting individuals to be active participants rather than
passive recipients of services has been shown to improve health
outcomes and reduce the costs of care.
Improving health outcomes by putting people in control of
their own care:
Through personal health budgets, patients become part of
formulating the problem, identifying the solution and evaluating
effectiveness. Being in control has been shown to improve
Developing alternative, less costly
packages of care:
Personal health budgets provide individuals with the opportunity
to develop tailored packages of care rather than slotting into a
menu of commissioned services that can be more expensive .
Reducing the overall use of
services through greater prevention:
There are significant opportunities to use the flexibility and
person centred nature of a personal health budget in a preventative
way to reduce costs elsewhere in the NHS, particularly the costs of
unplanned admissions and use of emergency services.
Increasing competition between
One of the central policy objectives of personal health budgets is
to make providers more responsive to the needs of service users by
giving people the ability to put pressure on providers to develop a
new set of services or see custom go elsewhere.
Improving coordination between
Personal health budgets can be an important tool for improving
coordination, particularly between NHS and social services and in
the transition from children's to adults services.
By shifting control to individuals and families, personal health
budgets will reduce the need for professionally trained
The paper also highlights the existing evidence on cost
effectiveness of personal budgets in social care, which shows one
local authority achieving 12 per cent savings, with the average
savings being nine per cent.**
Vidhya Alakeson, from In Control's health programme - Staying in
Control, said: "The potential for personal health budgets to
contribute to efficiency savings in the NHS, and to improve service
users' lives is clear. Experience from social care creates a
certain amount of confidence that these opportunities can be
"We all have a vested interest in ensuring that NHS resources are
put to the best possible use to create the biggest possible
improvement in people's health and lives. Keeping people well
and in employment, preventing their conditions from deteriorating
and avoiding hospitalisation and residential placements by
providing effective community-based care are all areas where
significant efficiency savings can be made. Personal health
budgets have an important contribution to make in all of these
You can download a copy of the 'QIPP and Personal Health
Budgets' report below.
*In the Comprehensive Spending Review in October, an
0.4 per cent increase in spending was announced for the next three
years. However analysis by the Kings Fund and Institute for
Fiscal studies suggests that an increase of 1.1 per cent per year
between now and 2017 is required just to meet demographic pressures
while maintaining current standards. A gap of between £15
billion and £30 billion will have to be made up through efficiency
** Figures from In Control's evaluations 2003-2005
and 2005 to 2007.