NHS patients with chronic illnesses will get a £3,000 a year ‘personal health budget’ to spend on their own care by 2024, ministers reveal
- Up to 200,000 patients will be given allowances of approximately £3,000 a year
- Ministers want expansion of budgets scheme for long-term illness patients
- Patients will have access to ‘assistant dogs’ to warn them about diabetes attacks
Up to 200,000 patients will be given their own NHS allowances to spend on care – including dogs.
Ministers want to massively expand the ‘personal health budgets’ scheme for patients with long-term illnesses.
They will be given allowances of approximately £3,000 a year to spend on care and equipment to manage their condition.
Up to 200,000 patients will be given their own NHS allowances to spend on care – including dogs. Ministers want to massively expand the ‘personal health budgets’ scheme for patients with long term illnesses (stock image)
This includes ‘assistant dogs’ who warn patients they are about to have a diabetes attack as well as new equipment for the home.
But the scheme has proved controversial in the past and patients have previously spent the money on horse riding, vacuum cleaners and head massages.
GPs have described the allowances as a ‘inappropriate use’ of NHS cash at a time of unprecedented demand.
Ministers claim the scheme is both cost-effective and successful and enables patients to live independently for longer.
Currently 40,000 patients receive personal health budgets but the Department of Health wants to extend this to 200,000 patients by 2024.
Caroline Dinenage, the minister for care said: ‘I’ve seen first-hand how personal health budgets can give people a new lease of life, granting them the ability to enjoy their lives to the full.
‘These budgets help to join up health and social care services, improving people’s experiences and outcomes whilst ensuring value for money for taxpayers.
Currently 40,000 patients receive personal health budgets but the Department of Health wants to extend this to 200,000 patients by 2024 (file photo)
‘We are therefore extending access so many more people can benefit, a key part of our NHS Long Term plan which will see personalised care become the norm for millions more.’
James Sanderson, NHS England’s director of personalised care said: ‘The NHS Long Term Plan will see more than 2.5 million patients benefit from measures like Personal Health Budgets and social prescribing, which mean people have more choice and control over their health, wellbeing and treatment.
‘Dealing with long-term health problems means moving away from a one-size-fits-all approach, and towards more tailored care, with 1,000 social prescribing workers in GP surgeries, closer working with voluntary groups and most importantly asking patients what support they need to live independently and well.’
A Freedom of Information investigation in 2015 revealed how the budgets had been spent on Wii Fit computer consoles, head massages and horse riding sessions.
One health trust admitted a patient had used the money to build a summer house in the garden.