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12.10.12

NHS Confederation recommends joint personal budgets

Personal health budgets (PHBs) should complement existing social care arrangements and use a ‘dual carriageway’ approach, the NHS Confederation has recommended.

A new report suggests that commissioners must use local authorities’ experience in providing PHBs to deliver the best outcomes. This approach would see a single assessment and one budget to manage health and social care.

Subject to a national evaluation, patients eligible for continuing healthcare will have the right to request PHBs from April 2014.

Jo Webber, deputy director of policy at the NHS Confederation, said: “For individual service users, any kind of dividing line between services provided and paid for by the NHS and by social care can seem arbitrary and bureaucratic.

“Given that the use of personal budgets in social care is so far ahead of health - £1 in every £7 spent by councils on care and support already gets spent via a personal budget – it is right for the NHS to think carefully about how it can contribute to making seamless care a reality for everyone who chooses to use a personal budget to plan their care. 

“As individual health budgets roll out from this autumn, we are urging NHS commissioners to keep their focus on the individual’s experience. If it feels like a success for people, that's the best indicator of success.”

The report is at: www.nhsconfed.org/Publications/Documents/Joint_personal_budgets_a_new_solution_to_the_problem_of_integrated_care.pdf

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