Personal Health Budgets: First StepsLord Darzi has just launched his policy for personal health budgets. This is a way of giving people greater control over the services they use and who provides them.
The document itself is 59 pages long and leaves no stone unturned. It is that good, really .. I read 46 pages of it and left the rest because the remainder was intended to PCTs and service provides giving them directions on how to implement the pilot. .. but I will return to read the whole thing again later because it is a very thorough piece of work and I believe this is a really good idea; giving patients lots more control over their own care through three types of personal budgets, depending on a given patient's needs - read it :-)
A personal health budget can be:
Notional or 'virtual' where a budget is allocated but is held and managed by the PCT and caters for a specific plan as agreed with an individual therefore allowing risk to be pooled
Real budget which can be held by third parties such as voluntary organisations, etc and those would therefore be responsible for 'risk' prediction and management thus reducing the pooled risk for PCTs
Direct budget, which following the social model, can be paid direct to the individual - conditions attached.
However, the pilot which starts from Sept 2009 and runs to 2012 will only run for the first two types. He emphasises the need for risk management and necessity of 'indemnity' for all. This piece of work is currently being looked at by parliament with the intention of having it included in the 'health Bill'
Personal budgets are designed with the aim of:
1- Upholding NHS values
2- Ensuring Quality in the form of Safety, effectiveness and experience
3- Tackling inequalities while protecting quality.
After a budget is agreed with a patient, a 'care plan' designed to meet the individual's 'agreed' health and well being outcomes is drawn. All budgets are purely voluntary and are not suitable for either 'emergency services' or 'Primary Care assessments' including GPs, who remain providers of clinical care through registration. For this vision to succeed, Darzi, again, talks about the importance of leadership as well as 'change of culture' with a far reaching vision of integrating health and social care to achieve best outcomes for patients and the NHS. Hence, not only does this policy reduces and hopefully eliminates inequalities while ensuring quality but it also has the potential to greatly control cost and reduce waste ..
This policy is a brilliant idea very well set on the road to success ... no doubt! :-)
From a patient point of view, this is a 'quality' piece of work that will improve the quality of care as well as quality of life for so many people. Especially those, as mentioned in that report, with special needs or long term conditions. A brilliant and very comprehensive piece of work ... again ... produced at the 'speed of light!' ... It's becoming a 'marathon' trying to keep up with this minister .. But .. I am enjoying the learning ..
"The most essential thing for us was to get the business model right, then put the world-class technology under it to support it. That meant not doing what people expected, but much much better. "