FINANCE: A pilot project to offer personal health budgets to patients in Northamptonshire has been hailed a sucess and could be rolled out further.

Over the last two years Northamptonshire has been taking part in the National Personal Health Budget Pilot. The budgets will be available in the county until the end of 2012 for anybody eligible for continuing healthcare.

Work is now under way to make them available in the future for people with a long-term condition.

Gill Ruecroft, project lead for the Northamptonshire PHB pilot, said: “During the pilot we have successfully trialled personal health budgets for some mental health service users and people eligible for continuing healthcare in Northants and we are now looking to replicate this success in these and other areas.

“A personal health budget is an amount of money to support a person’s identified health and wellbeing needs, planned and agreed between the person and local GPs and NHS staff.”

Dr Matthew Davies, GP long-term conditions lead for NHS Nene Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Through our work with mental health service users Nene CCG has already demonstrated the effectiveness of personal health budgets.

“I am always looking at ways of supporting patients to manage their long term conditions, and PHB puts patients firmly in the driving seat.”