There is currently a move to push Personal Health Budgets by the government to give patients/service users more control see this NHS page.
The University of Kent, University of York, Imperial College, London and the London school of economics have joined up for a Government funded research project to assess how well PHB’s work for NHS patients.
Personally I see this as a good step forward, although I’m sure PHB’s won’t suit everyone, for people like me it will give far greater control over my care.
I have been accepted into the pilot for Continuing Healthcare PHB’s, there are only ten patients selected per PCT, five will be a control group the other five will get a personal budget which will be used to buy their own care, either through agencies or by employing people directly. The local CHC team decides who to put forward for the pilot, luckily I get on well with my CHC Nurse and was selected to be one of the five to receive a PHB, I have now also been accepted by the research team, I’m not sure how long it will be until I receive my budget but I’m very eager to start participating.
The pilot scheme will last twelve months and you are allowed to withdraw at any time, quite how this works and how simple it will be I’m not sure, patients will have their care budgets put directly into their bank account, whether this will be a lump sum or in instalments I don’t yet know, you will then be responsible for buying your own care.
The easiest way to pay for care will be to pay an agency, personally that doesn’t appeal to me as an agency will take a large chunk of money for administration costs, and from my experience that administration is pretty rubbish. The other way is to employ Nurses/Carers directly, this is more difficult as you have to sort out things like insurance, contracts, CRB checks and tax yourself, you become an employer and have all associated duties as such, there are organisations out there that will help disabled people with this, Social Services have been providing PHB’s for a while so there is support in place already, although CHC usually deals with more complicated cases so there will be a learning curve for everyone.
So far the pilot seems well thought out and organised, there will be regular checks and questionnaires, and the research team come from very good institutions. In 2012 a report on the pilots findings will be given to the Government, from there it will be decided whether to offer all patients PHB’s or not.
I will keep you updated on my progress throughout the pilot, so far I have just had a meeting with my CHC to discuss the pilot in general and sign consent forms, and have had an email from the research team saying I have been accepted and the project is moving ahead (I also obtained permission to blog about the pilot).
Wish me luck.