The Royal College view
An RCGP position statement states that while it believes that personal health budgets could realise significant benefits in personalised care and shared decision making for some patients, the implementation of personal health budgets poses challenges that have not yet been addressed by the government.
Letter to Paul Burstow MP
The RCGP has written to Care Services Minister Paul Burstow MP asking him to address the risks identified in the position statement, prior to the roll-out of personal health budgets.
Key issues raised by the RCGP
- Achieving the appropriate balance of responsibilities for ensuring the clinical effectiveness and quality of services purchased
- Managing the impact of the introduction of personal health budgets on Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) costs and on the financial sustainability of existing NHS services
- Setting appropriate budgets in line with the principle of the provision of comprehensive health services on the basis of clinical need, free at the point of use
- Ensuring that personal health budgets do not give rise to new health inequalities
The RCGP's statement recommends that GPs should review all personal health budget care plans and calls on commissioners to put in place sufficient resources to support the care planning process. It also makes clear that any personal health budget should meet the full cost of the services identified in an individual's care plan as being necessary, and for processes to be put in place to ensure that health needs continue to be met if the money runs out.
Professor Nigel Mathers says
RCGP Vice-Chair, Professor Nigel Mathers, who has led on development of the RCGP's position paper, said:
"We believe very strongly in the importance of each patient having personalised care and an opportunity to be involved in making decisions in partnership with their GP.
Personal health budgets could potentially realise great benefits for our patients - but we want the government to work with us to ensure that it gets the policy framework for implementation right and that the lessons from the pilot sites are learnt. We also need to be convinced that any potential risks have been mitigated."
The Royal College of General Practioners published a position statement on Personal Health Budgets
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