Minister for Care and Support expresses his commitment to a ‘right to have’ a personal health budget

Speaking at the launch of our latest report, ‘Personal Health Budgets: a revolution in personalisation’ yesterday evening The Rt Hon Norman Lamb MP announced that the shift to Personal Health Budgets provides an opportunity to move away from the current paternalistic nature of the NHS and to give patients “a real voice”.

 Norman Lamb said that the paternalistic culture in the NHS “ has to completely change and it has to be much more of a partnership between the clinician and the patient, reaching decisions based on the individual’s priorities rather than what the doctor or another clinician feels is right for that person. I think that the whole shift towards personal budgets and direct payments in social care has been an immensely exciting development. It has a long way to go, but now we have the opportunity to apply some of these principles to the NHS.”

“When you hear from someone like …[Alex[1]] you can’t but embrace this approach. It is so powerful to hear an individual just say this has transformed their life, by giving them control to make decisions about what’s important to them. The need for clinicians to take a wider view and a wider perspective in heath and care is critically important.”

The Minister reiterated that on the 4th July new regulations were laid in Parliament to allow direct payments for health care, which are likely to come in to force on the 1st August 2013.

He also announced that whilst from the 1st August all individuals will have the ‘right to request’ a personal health budget, he would like to move on from this, to a ‘right to have’ as soon as we’re able to “in a reasonable and ordered way” . Norman Lamb is concerned that some NHS leaders will not make the necessary changes needed in the NHS, if the request for personal health budgets is left as a ‘right to request’. He also expressed his commitment to explore the possibility of extending Personal Health Budgets to mental health, arthritis care, re-ablement services and maternity services.

Norman Lamb concluded “I personally, as a liberal,  am completely committed to this whole concept of shifting from a paternalistic approach to one where the patient or the user of a service takes control and this [PHBs] is an incredibly important way in which we can deliver this objective.”


[1] Alex is a PHB holder who also spoke at our event. For more information please see here

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