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Personal health budgets to be rolled out from October 2012

People receiving continuing healthcare support from the NHS will have the right to ask for a personal health budget, by April 2014 Health Secretary Andrew Lansley says.

It will give the tens of thousands of people who receive NHS Continuing Healthcare - those assessed to have complex health and care needs - more choice and control over their care.

Andrew Lansley said: “Personal health budgets clearly fit with the future direction of a modern NHS - an NHS which focuses on quality and gives patients more control and choice.

“They allow people to work with the NHS so that they can receive more personal, more tailored care which fit with an individual's life and uses resources most effectively.

“This is a solution which must come as part of a cultural shift for doctors, healthcare professionals, providers and patients which sees the patient as an equal partner in decisions about their care. It will personalise the NHS and provide more integrated high quality care across health and social care.”

There are currently over 1,300 people receiving personal health budgets within the pilot programme for a range of conditions; long-term conditions; mental health; end of life care and NHS Continuing Healthcare.

Those eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare will be the first group to receive personal health budgets, building on early evidence from the pilots as well as existing demand from this group - many of whom want to keep the control they have for managing their care within social care.

The announcement follows the independent NHS Future Forum report which recommended action to promote personal budgets and implement them within five years to give patients access to tailored services.

Within the pilot programme there is detailed work underway to explore many of the key challenges identified and develop best practice and other information that the NHS will need to deliver personal health budgets in the longer term.

They will be rolled out subject to evaluation of the pilot programme, which is due to end in October 2012.

Department of Health