The right to 'ask' for personal health care budgets begins today

1 April 2014

As from April 1, 2014, people with complex health care needs have the ‘right to ask’ for a personal health budget.

The aim is to give people more independence and flexibility over how their healthcare money is spent,whether it's on carers to provide intensive help at home, equipment to improve quality of life or therapies like counselling.

The scheme is being extended nationally after a pilot programme which took place between 2009 and 2012. The pilot indicated that people experienced a better quality of life and psychological wellbeing, and, particularly for people with complex healthcare needs who use a lot of NHS services, led to a reduction in hospital use.

The Government’s Mandate to the NHS also states that from April 2015 people with long term conditions who could benefit will have the option of a personal health budget.

Vidhya Alakeson is deputy chief executive at the Resolution Foundation.  Writing in The Guardian, she says:

"The biggest challenge for commissioners is to unlock money from existing contracts. NHS providers will have to change the way they do things or lose out to new entrants. Budget holders will demand greater flexibility and a broader, more preventive range of care services than the NHS currently buys. For clinicians, it will mean a willingness to explore new approaches to meeting long-term health needs."