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.
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