Patients given £1,000 for treatments

old people hands image

Personal budgets offered to vulnerable patients

NHS England boss Simon Stevens has said that frail elderly, people with disabilities and individuals with serious mental health problems should be given personal budgets from the NHS and council-run social care services.

The scheme is an extension of the personal budgets policy, where patients are given a nominal budget of around £1,000 which they can then decide to spend on whatever care and services they want, to enable patients to have more power and say in their healthcare. It is hoped that by 2018, five million people will be offered the new budgets, which don’t include GP or emergency services as these can just be used normally.

Currently 650,000 people use these budgets for social care, however they have only recently been provided by the NHS, with only 2,500 patients having them.

Shaping care

Mr Stevens said in a speech “Patients, service users and carers have the biggest interest in getting things right, but they can only do so if we give them real power to shape their own care. We need to stop treating people as a collection of health problems or treatments. We need to treat them as individuals whose needs and preferences should be seen in the round and whose choices shape services, not the other way round.”

Caroline Abrahams, of Age UK, welcomed the move towards more personalisation, but mentioned the budgets needed to be carefully designed so they were not “confusing”.

Councillor Katie Hall, of the Local Government Association, said “It is good that the NHS has recognised the benefits of this local government model and we are very keen to work with the NHS on developing practical ways to make care more personalised.”