A “dual carriageway” approach should be used for the roll-out of personal health budgets by NHS commissioners, according to a new report.
The NHS Confederation briefing said the approach would make sure that any new proposals would complement schemes already in place.
The report, Joint Personal Budgets: a new solution to the problem of integrated care, is urging commissioners to utilise councils’ experience of working with personal budgets to give patients the best arrangements possible.
The proposal is intended to boost debate over the issue of personal health budgets, with joint arrangements for health and social care under consideration. The briefing explains how they might work in practise, with large-scale considerations also outlined.
The “dual carriageway” approach has already been piloted in several areas throughout England, allowing people a single assessment of health and social care needs, with all of their care coming under the one budget.
All patients eligible for continuing healthcare can request a personal budget from spring 2014, subject to a nationwide evaluation to be released later this month.
The NHS Confederation’s deputy director of policy, Jo Webber, said: “Given that the use of personal budgets in social care is so far ahead of health - £1 in every £7 spent by councils on care and support already gets spent via a personal budget - it is right for the NHS to think carefully about how it can contribute to making seamless care a reality for everyone who chooses to use a personal budget to plan their care.”