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CCGs warned over personal health budgets


29 August 2013

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CCGs should be ready to decommission services unpopular services when personal health budgets are implemented in 2014, a report has warned. 
Personal health budgets aim to help patients with an identified health need to have more control over their healthcare, by allocating NHS money so that they can choose services. 
However, the report released by the Nuffield Trust claims that CCGs should be ready to decommission services, but at a rate that allows providers the chance to adapt, minimising the chance of market shrinkage. 

CCGs should be ready to decommission services unpopular services when personal health budgets are implemented in 2014, a report has warned. 
Personal health budgets aim to help patients with an identified health need to have more control over their healthcare, by allocating NHS money so that they can choose services. 
However, the report released by the Nuffield Trust claims that CCGs should be ready to decommission services, but at a rate that allows providers the chance to adapt, minimising the chance of market shrinkage. 
The report stated: “Double running costs that have been incurred have thus far not been significant enough for commissioners to need to release money from existing provider contracts. 
“The extension of personal health budgets to other long-term conditions will present a much tougher challenge for commissioners, particularly in community services where block contracts are often still the norm.” 
The Nuffield Trust points out that CCGs now have responsibility for rolling out the new system. 
CCGs will have to determine how much personal health budgets are worth, developing a process for allocating them to each individual.
But the process could lead to a postcode lottery, the report warns. 
“Policy-makers need to be aware that there is a risk that a postcode lottery in personal health budgets will emerge because much of the decision-making as to whether to offer personal health budgets, for whom and at what pace will remain in the hands of clinical commissioning groups.
 

“Not only will the value of a personal health budget be different in each area but also the availability of personal health budgets for particular conditions is likely to vary.” 

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