Hundreds of thousands of NHS patients to be given money to choose their own personalised treatment
As many as 350,000 NHS patients could soon receive personal allowances of cash to fund their own care under new plans to “put power back into the hands of patients”.The initiative will give people with mental health problems, dementia and disabilities the right to select and pay for treatments they want or need, at their own discretion.
All funds will be given directly to patients to spend independently, which they’ll be able to use on treatment as approved by their GP.
Thousands of army veterans and wheelchair users have also been promised the “personal health budgets” – which could amount to tens of thousands of pounds – after complaints that the NHS was failing to support these groups.
The bespoke care plan will give patients, namely those with long-term health conditions, the right to select and pay for treatments to improve their health and wellbeing – this includes children, with parents or carers given budgets on their behalf.
Ministers believe the scheme will improve satisfaction ratings across the NHS and alleviate pressure on social care budgets – currently around 23,000 people benefit from personal health budgets, however there are calls to expand it.
People who qualify will have the option of receiving the money through a direct payment, giving the money to a third party to manage or leaving it with the NHS to control.
The move has received backing from health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, and NHS boss Simon Stevens.
It will be set up later this year when the Government announces changes to health and social care.
One example of the existing NHS scheme mentioned in the consultation is of a 90-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s who uses the personal health budget to pay for care at home, osteopathy treatment and respite care for her family.
The woman has not had any emergency admissions to hospital since she was given the personal budget, according to the report.
Caroline Dinenage, minister for care, said: “If you have complex needs, our current health and social care system can be confusing, so it’s right people should be involved in the important decisions about how their care is delivered.
“These changes will put the power back into the hands of patients and their families, potentially allowing up to 350,000 extra people to take up a personal health budget if they so wish.”
“This would not only improve quality of life and the care they receive, it will offer good value for money for the taxpayer and reduce pressure on emergency care by joining up health and social care services at a local level.
“As the health and social care secretary set out in his speech last month, we’re determined to focus care around the person, and this will form one of the key principles of reform for the sector in a green paper published this summer.”
However Rohit Patni, co-founder of HealthTech platform WeMa Life said giving patients freedom over their own care could lead to further problems for the NHS – with the potential for millions of pounds to be wasted.
“The introduction of the new personal health budgets does not come as a great surprise, particularly given the Government’s recent focus on putting more onus on individuals to better manage their own health. However, it raises some issues, and people will be rightly wondering if it’s sensible for the NHS to be handing its money over to patients,”.
“Most notably, there needs to be far greater support for patients given money to then find the best healthcare service providers – if there is not the right infrastructure and education in place then the budgets could easily be wasted.
“From people suffering from long-term medical problems through to those caring for an elderly relative, there is huge demand for domiciliary care services across the UK.
“And while it’s positive to see these people receive some financial support to get the personalised care they need outside of hospitals, if the budgets do not come with extra assistance in directing patients to the right place to find, book and pay for their services then there is a risk that this initiative could backfire.”
Read the full article online: https://www.mirror.co.uk/money/hundreds-thousands-nhs-patients-given-12372318
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