ICBs should consider delegating decision-making around personal health budgets (PHBs), NHS England has suggested.
A PHB uses NHS funding to create an individually agreed personalised care and support plan – agreed between a patient and their ICB – and is intended to help an adult or child receiving long-term care outside of hospital manage their health.
New guidance published by NHS England has suggested that ICBs should delegate the authority to make decisions around PHBs to allow plans to be confirmed and potential risks flagged much sooner in the process.
ICBs must also ensure there is a named decision-maker, and must be transparent in how any decisions are made.
In 2019, the DHSC announced its commitment to offering PHBs to 200,000 people by 2024 under the NHS Mandate.
ICBs are expected to create the conditions to fully realise the benefits of PHBs for local populations and develop a strategic plan to help implement and expand them.
In its new guiding framework, NHS England said ICBs must:
- Actively include people and their families in discussions about their care
- Ensure staff are aware of their local PHB offer
- Ensure their service supports ‘flexible budget spend’.
NHS England singled out Lancashire and South Cumbria ICB which has set PHBs as the system’s default operating model for everyone in receipt of a homecare package, with plans regularly updated via regular personalised reviews.
The ICB has reported increased satisfaction from patients, a reduction in case management input from its NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC) team, and reduced hospital admissions.
Similarly, North East London ICB’s City and Hackney Place Based Partnership has implemented a recovery pathway that uses PHBs to set and support recovery goals with commissioned services for 400 people a year.