Push on personalised budgets revealed

Hospital ward image

Simon Stevens calls for areas to pilot the new scheme

NHS chief executive Simon Stevens is planning an impressive programme to extend the use of combined health and social care personalised budgets.

Labelled as a “radical new option”  for councils and clinical commissioning groups, Mr Stevens has estimated that approximately five million people could be receiving a combined budget by 2018. Areas have been invited to pilot the new initiative over 2015/16, with key target groups identified as those with long term conditions such as the frail elderly; children with complex needs; people with learning disabilities; and people with severe and enduring mental health problems.

NHS England believes that the programme “will for the first time blend comprehensive health and social care funding for individuals, and allow them to direct how it is used.”

Combined money

Mr Stevens told the HSJ “We need to treat patients as individuals whose needs and preferences should be seen in the round and whose choices shape services, not the other way round.”

Also an advocate for drastic changes within the NHS, Mr Stevens called for support at the Local Government Association conference in Bournemouth last week, saying “I am not one of these people who believes that the answer is mass centralisation of NHS hospital services…but I am one of those people that believes that when evidence tells us that quality and efficiency can be improved from service changes, then that needs to happen.”