Labour should support personal health budgets

Vidhya Alakeson  at the Resolution Foundation thinks Labour should support personal health budgets

RCGP paper on personal health budgets

Independent evaluation of the personal health budget pilot programme

Some people see personal budgets as the end of the NHS as we know it.  I think if they think Lansley plans to give all patients  a personal budget they are living in another world.

For those who don’t know this territory there has always been a budget for people who qualify for Continuing Healthcare – mostly people with extreme disability. The big change is that they can decide how its spent. It’s often a big sum – £300,000 pa or more – as it typically pays for nurses, carers etc to visit several times a day.  It isn’t the sort of healthcare most of us get, or indeed would want.  Its a murky area between health and social care – exactly the sort of swamp into which Andy Burnham is wandering.  Doctors get very excited when people use what are typically very small sums from these budgets to buy things that are important to them, but not their doctors, like season tickets or ipads.  Clearly not all these patients are capable of, or want to, manage the money, but for those that do it can change their life.

If we are to make a useful contribution to future Labour policy this is an area which would benefit from consideration.  What do you think?