Following the success of the pilot schemes, personal health budgets will be made available to all service users in receipt of continuing healthcare.
The evaluation of personal budgets is finally announced and shows that the health budgets improved people’s quality of life and mental health.
Norman Lamb has announced that the government will invest £1.5 million in implementing the personal budgets before 2014 to those who receive continuing care, which is around 56,000 people.
The pilot for the scheme, which took place over the last three years, showed that there were significant improvements in the quality of life and mental well being of those involved
The evaluation showed that the budgets were most successful for those with mental health problems and continued health care, and also improved life for the carers of those with personal budgets
The pilots were more successful when the information was provided to service users about the personal budgets, and gave them the most flexibility and choice, which was found to be the most valued aspect of the budgets.
However, the evaluation of the pilots showed that the most limiting factors of the budgets were the restrictions set in place on the budgets and also the budgets being too small to meet their needs.
There are recommendations made in the report, particularly for integrated budgets for health and social care, which creates confusion as to what can be funded from each budget, and most found they could not manage both personal budgets through a single account for this reason.
Sue Bott and Bill Davidson, co-chairs of Think Local Act Personal, the sector coalition set up to help implement personalisation, said:
It’s obvious from the evaluation that the best results are achieved when personal budgets are implemented using the principles of self-directed support.
As personal health budgets are now rolled out, it is important to make strong links across health and social care, to help to achieve integration of support at the level of the individual.
Image source: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1139527