After a reportedly successful pilot programme, from April 2014, people eligible for NHS continuing healthcare (CHC) across England will have the right to ask for a personal health budget (PHB). PHBs fit within the government agenda of increasing patient involvement, by empowering individuals to manage and make decisions about their own care and treatment.
This roll out of PHBs to those eligible for CHC will mean that approximately 56,000 people nationally will have the right to request a personal health budget. It is also anticipated that this right will then be extended to others with long term conditions or disabilities.
It is therefore extremely important that commissioners understand the implications involved and the work that will need to be carried out ahead of this implementation date.
CCGs will be responsible for delivering the vast majority of PHBs. An NHS support and delivery programme has been set up to assist CCGs in this process which will include:
- Support to carry out a local self-assessment, using markers for progress;
- Taking part in the next national personal health budgets survey;
- Access to the personal health budgets toolkit and FAQ; and Access to a learning network.
Where CCGs have commissioned their CSUs to deliver CHC, they can still take part in this process, albeit that they may need to ask their CSU to carry out the assessment and data collection and report progress to the CCG.