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'Right to ask' for personal health budget now in place

'Right to ask' for personal health budget now in place

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People with complex health care needs from now have the ‘right to ask’ for a personal health budget.

Personal health budgets aim to give people more independence over how their healthcare money is spent. Uses could include carers for help at home, or therapies like counselling. 

More than 80% of clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) have attended NHS England's accelerated development programme to help them prepare to offer the budgets and support patients to plan their care. 

Between 2009 and 2012 a national pilot programme was trialled, which appeared to show better quality of life, particularly for people with complex health needs who use a lot of NHS services. 

Tim Kelsey, NHS national director for patients and information, said: “We are very pleased today to launch the next step in the roll-out of personal health budgets. From today people who have significant health needs and are eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare, can ask their NHS team to provide their care through a personal health budget.

“We are also pleased that from October eligible people across England will have the right to have a personal health budget which can make a significant difference to peoples’ quality of life and help them stay out of hospital. 

“We have been working with CCGs all over the country to ensure they are prepared to provide eligible patients with all the information they need and to provide the budgets as an option from October.”

The Government’s Mandate to the NHS also states that from April 2015 people with long term conditions who could benefit will have the option of one. This policy is expected to be further developed in 2014/15.

NHS Continuing Healthcare is the name given to a package of care that is arranged and funded solely by the NHS for individuals who are not in hospital but have complex ongoing healthcare needs. 

This is a relatively small number of people, around 58,000 nationally, who have the most complex long term health needs and potentially have the most to benefit from a more personalised and flexible approach to managing their health needs. 

Taking up a personal health budget will be optional, and anyone who does not want to manage their healthcare needs in this way can leave their care arrangements as they are now.

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