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Personal health budget pilots launched

Personal health budget pilots launched

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NHS England has set up seven pilot sites to look at the effects of rolling out personal health budgets for people who use mental health services.

Over 18 months, the pilots will work with people using services, commissioners, GPs and other health workers to try to understand more about how the budgets can be financially sustained, while attempting to “encourage their use” by more clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), providers and clinicians.

According to NHS England, the new demonstrators will show how personal health budgets could be offered to more people using mental health services within the existing budgets.

Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb said: “We want everyone to have better care that is built around their individual needs. Personal health budgets are part of our drive to give people who need the most help more choice and control over their care and support.

“I’m pleased to see the work that NHS England are doing with CCGs on the use of personal health budgets within mental health services. I hope that the experience drawn from this work will help to enable the roll out of their use in mental health services across the country.”

Martin McShane, NHS England’s director for patients with long-term conditions, said: “Personal health budgets are new in the NHS and are a very welcome resource for people managing long term conditions.

“These budgets can improve individuals’ quality of life and well-being and reduce their use of other NHS services, including hospital care.

 “The budgets allow people to choose support and treatment that will help keep them well, with the support of their doctors and nurses. We are very keen to roll out personal health budgets as far as possible, however, there are a lot of things we want to explore about how they can be sustainably scaled up in the NHS before we do this.”

A personal health budget is an amount of money to support an individual’s identified health and wellbeing needs, planned and agreed between them, or their representative, and their local NHS team.

Patients have to show what they have spent the money on and there are different ways the support can be managed, depending on how much responsibility the person wants to, or is able to take.

A personal health budget can be spent on a variety of services, equipment or activities, which can include anything from gym memberships and college courses to cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and psychotherapy, so long as it is agreed that it will help keep them well.

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