Trials have been launched of personal health budgets which make it easier for patients to get the NHS care that they think will help them. They are complementary to direct payments and personal budgets for care and support from social services. They have been introduced because many people have said that having more say over how money gets spent on their care and support makes them feel more involved and more positive and it does not cost any more than providing services in the normal way.
Everyone with a long term condition should have a care plan and a personal health budget makes it clear how much money is available for NHS care so the patient can discuss and agree the best way to spend it. Budgets can be used for a range of things to help meet health and wellbeing needs. Examples include therapies, personal care, lifestyle advice and self-management courses.
Personal health budgets are being piloted until 2012. Ideas will be tested with a small number of people in some areas of England to see if and how they work. Experts will look at what happens and decisions will be made on what to do next.
Information about personal health budgets is available from DoH. http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_101857