The benefit of budgets – now we’re really talking patient power

Guest Blog by Dr Iseult Roche

Five million people are expected to benefit from new personal health budgets by 2018. It is hoped this will enable patients with chronic conditions to obtain ownership and independence over their own care.

Social services have previously used Personal Budgets, where approximately  650,000 people benefited from them, and they have been introduced as a “right to have” for people with continuing care needs in the health service this year.

The innovative concept to extend their use in health and social care has been announced by  Simon phbthumbStevens, the NHS England chief executive.

It is anticipated health and social care budgets could be combined and budgets will probably  come from funding awarded to councils and clinical commissioning groups that are successful in delivering localized,  integrated and well managed care and achieve good outcomes for those allocated the budgets.

Simon Stevens, in The Guardian,  is quoted as saying “We are going to set out the biggest offer to bring health and social care together that there’s been since 1948 – a new option for combining them at the level of the individual.”

Although some doctors and patients alike may have some concerns over how patients will manage these budgets, and certainly vulnerable people may well need support to manage their budget effectively, this is a significant step forward in patient-centred care. Helping promote patient involvement and shared management of their own care (which surely in the longer term will be of benefit and may promote health compliance and health understanding) in a chronic health condition is vital.

See the comprehensive 2020health report: Personal Health Budgets: A revolution in personalisation

About Julia Manning

Julia is a social pioneer, writer and campaigner. She studied visual science at City University and became a member of the College of Optometrists in 1991, later specialising in visual impairment and diabetes. During her career in optometry, she lectured at City University, was a visiting clinician at the Royal Free Hospital and worked with Primary Care Trusts. She ran a domiciliary practice across south London and was a Director of the UK Institute of Optometry. Julia formed 20/20Health in 2006. Becoming an expert in digital health solutions, she led on the NHS–USA Veterans’ Health Digital Health Exchange Programme and was co-founder of the Health Tech and You Awards with Axa PPP and the Design Museum. Her research interests are now in harnessing digital to improve personal health, and she is a PhD candidate in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) at UCL. She is also dedicated to creating a sustainable Whole School Wellbeing Community model for schools that builds relationships, discovers assets and develops life skills. She is a member of the Royal Society of Medicine’s Digital Health Council. Julia has shared 2020health's research widely in the media (BBC News, ITV, Channel 5 News, BBC 1′s The Big Questions & Victoria Derbyshire, BBC Radio 4 Today, PM and Woman's Hour, LBC) and has taken part in debates and contributed to BBC’s Newsnight, Panorama, You and Yours and ITV’s The Week.
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