The personal health budget (PHB) is the most revolutionary expression of personalisation ever introduced to the NHS. It embodies and epitomises the Government’s vision of a patient-centred NHS, summed up by the often quoted edict ‘no decision about me, without me’. Yet it is impossible to ignore professional concern and disquiet around the implementation of PHBs. This report responds to some key fears and objections with learning and best practice emerging from the pilot programme.
Between 2009 and 2012 the NHS undertook a pilot programme to find out whether Personal Health Budgets would benefit patients with certain conditions. Notably, those receiving NHS continuing healthcare, those with mental health issues, stroke survivors, those suffering from long-term neurological conditions, diabetics, and those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The positive outcomes from this pilot were significant improvements in the quality of life and wellbeing of many of the patients. This led the Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb to announce the roll out of PHBs and confirm the Government’s (2011) commitment to see everyone entitled to NHS continuing healthcare given the right to request a PHB by April 2014.