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Monday 24th October 2016

NHS patients to be given budget

19th January 2009

The government has said it will give patients the ability to control their personal budgets in order to allow them to select which healthcare services they need.

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Lord Darzi made the plans public on 16 January. The new legislation could begin to be trialled in England in 2009.

The idea of a patient controlling their own budget has been in use in social care for almost 15 years and is used by over 60,000 people.

If the new Health Bill goes through then some parts of the country will trial the scheme over a four year period. It is believed that people with chronic illness could find the scheme particularly helpful.

MPs are investigating how the scheme could be extended in order to help patients who could customise the care on offer to provide the services that apply most to them, such as transport or home care.

Steve Barnett, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said there was increasing proof that patients who had involvement in "decisions about treatment" showed positive results but questions needed to be asked.

"Should patients be allowed to spend their personal budgets on non-cost-effective treatments?" he said. "Should individuals be allowed to 'top-up' their care [with private treatments]? Should patients be allowed to invest personal budgets to be spent at a later date?"

"Personal health budgets could revolutionise the way in which care is delivered, but they are not without risks."


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