Patients take part in health budget pilot

Patients have been taking part in a pilot for personal health budgets
Patients have been taking part in a pilot for personal health budgets

County patients have been involved in a trial designed to give them more choice and control over their healthcare which may now be replicated in other areas.

They have been taking part in the National Personal Health Budget Pilot in the past two years.

Personal Health Budgets (PHBs) aim to give patients control over health budgets to arrange and manage their own care.

Gill Ruecroft, project lead for the Northamptonshire PHB pilot, said: “During the pilot we have successfully trialled personal health budgets for some mental health service users and people eligible for continuing healthcare in Northants and we are now looking to replicate this success in these and other areas.

“A personal health budget is an amount of money to support a person’s identified health and well-being needs, planned and agreed between the person and local GPs and NHS staff.”

In Northamptonshire, PHBs will be available by the end of 2012 for anybody eligible for continuing healthcare and work is under way to make them available in the future for people with a long-term condition.

Dr Matthew Davies, GP long term conditions lead for NHS Nene Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Through our work with mental health service users Nene CCG has already demonstrated the effectiveness of personal health budgets.

“I am always looking at ways of supporting patients to manage their long-term conditions, and PHB puts patients firmly in the driving seat.

“A short video has been produced from the patients’ and staff’s experience during the pilot to explain to the public, patients, GPs and other health professionals the benefits of PHB and how it can work here in Northamptonshire.”

The video illustrates real patients who have benefited from a personal health budget to improve their quality of life and well-being through managing their own needs, with the agreement and support of NHS staff.

Northamptonshire was a pilot site for Personal Health Budgets for a small group of mental health service users, and has already been featured in a national report by the Audit Commission for the way they are introducing Personal Health Budgets. The report is entitled ‘Making Personal Health Budgets Sustainable’ and says that the purpose behind the use of PHBs is “to increase LTC self management and move care into the community and closer to home and reduce the need for visits and admissions to hospital.”

Northamptonshire PHB pilot site’s video shows how the budgets can help you to get the NHS care which you think will improve your quality of life and give you what you need.

You can view it at or

Further information on Personal Health Budgets is available on the Department of Health website at