In December, we learnt that the Government is committed to rolling out the concept of “personal health budgets”, which have been piloted in the NHS for the last three years (please see previous blog dated 20 December 2012 for further information).

As anticipated, the Government has now launched a public consultation on changes to the regulations for direct payments for healthcare (one of three methods of offering an individual a personal health budget).

Direct payments occur where money is given directly to an individual for the management of their NHS care, and is currently only lawful within certain pilot sites, approved by the Department of Health.

The consultation proposes some changes to the pilot regulations, based on discussions with personal health budget holders, health professionals and other organisations, as well as on outcomes and learning from the pilot.

It also requests views on issues such as: paying family members where they carry out administrative tasks; allowing local authorities to make direct payments for healthcare; and eligibility issues.

The closing date to responding to this consultation is 26 April 2013, and if there is agreement, the changes will be implemented later this year.