Personal Health Budgets – “A right to have” from October 2014Posted on: October 10, 2013
The Minister of State, Department of Health (Norman Lamb): In October 2011, the Government announced that people receiving NHS continuing health care (NHS CHC) would have the “right to ask” for a personal health budget (PHB), including a direct payment, subject to the results of the PHB pilot programme. This commitment was confirmed in November 2012, following the publication of the independent evaluation of the pilot programme.
This “right to ask” for a PHB will be enshrined in secondary legislation and will take effect in April 2014. These amendments make it clear that clinical commissioning groups will need to develop the capacity and capability to deliver PHBs, as it imposes an obligation to give serious consideration to requests for PHBs. The “right to ask” for a PHB is not the same though as an automatic entitlement to a PHB. There will be some people for whom a PHB is not appropriate because, for example, their existing package of care is the best way of managing their needs.
I am today announcing to the House that the position is to be strengthened for those groups who gain the “right to ask” for a PHB in April 2014, as from October 2014 this group will further be given the “right to have” a PHB. A “right to have” will guarantee that people in receipt of NHS CHC and those transitioning in from social care or children’s services will have continuity of care in the services they receive. Those already on NHS CHC will be able to continue to access the services they are familiar with as they will be in control of how their budget is spent and have the confidence to exercise choice. Similarly, those who are new to NHS CHC, those who transition in from social care budgets or those who transition from children’s services will be able to continue to access the services they are accustomed to without the fear that this power to choose will be taken away from them when they move to a new package of care. There will continue to be people for whom PHBs are not appropriate but by giving a “right to have” we will ensure that they will only be declined on clinical or financial grounds which are deemed to make a PHB unviable.
I believe that this policy will ensure stability and continuity for those who need it most and go further towards our goal of providing greater personalisation within our NHS.