In July 2011, the DH funded and had published a discussion paper prepared in relation to the personal health budget pilot schemes entitled The cost of implementing personal health budgets.

This paper sets out preliminary data regarding funding the implementation of personal health budgets in the various pilot schemes during the first year of the pilots. It is clear that further research will be required and in fact the paper states that “further information and data will be collected in November 2011 to explore the accurate level of resource required during the second year of implementing personal health budgets”.

The initial findings that the paper reports are summarised as “on average, sites reported that £93,280 would be required during the first year of the implementation of personal health budgets which was viewed as additional to what would have been incurred without being a pilot site”.

It is clear that individual sites experienced different requirements for funding, due to various factors including, but not limited to; set up costs, costs of peer support, assessment process, support planning, review process and financial administration. It was clear, as would be anticipated, that the costs of sites in London would be higher than in Metropolitan areas, and the number of health conditions being included in the sites would have an effect on cost.

Further detailed analysis will be required. However, the paper states “…we would expect variations in reported costs according to the number of personal health budgets allocated (with reducing costs per budget)”.

However, in these times of reduced resources it is clear that if personal health budgets are to be progressed on from the pilot sites, then funding will surely need to be made available from central Government to cover these initial set up costs and implementation for perhaps two years from their introduction. It will be interesting to see if Government support evolves into a commitment for funding implementation of personal health budgets on a national level.