From today people with complex health care needs have the ‘right to ask’ for a personal health budget.

Personal Health Budgets

The scheme is being rolled out across the country after the budgets were trialled in a national pilot programme between 2009 and 2012 at sites all over the country.

Personal health budgets give people more independence over how their healthcare money is spent, be that on carers to provide intensive help at home, equipment to improve quality of life or therapies like counselling.

It also opens up the possibility for people with health funding to employ their own carers and care teams, an option that has been available in social care for many years.

Personal health budgets are not new money – they are a way of using NHS money differently, where people want to and where it is clinically safe. NHS Continuing Healthcare is the name given to a package of care that is arranged and funded solely by the NHS for individuals who are not in hospital but have complex ongoing healthcare needs. There are around 58,000 people nationally who have the most complex long term health needs and potentially have the most to benefit from a more personalised and flexible approach to managing their health needs. Taking up a personal health budget will be optional, and anyone who does not want to manage their healthcare needs in this way can leave their care arrangements as they are now.

Here at HomeCareDirect we have been working hard for the last decade to educate people and professionals on the power and great opportunities that Personalisation bring to people, we have been trying hard to let people know about what we see as The Middle Way for care at home. We believe that The Middle Way approach, which allows people all the choice and control over who their personal assistants are yet without the employer/insurance/money management worries, is key to rolling out self-directed support to all who want it!

We have worked in the pilot areas for personal health budgets, working closely with the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and Commissioning Support Units (CSUs) involved and we have had great success in assisting people with complex care needs to have full choice and control over their care at home and employ their chosen personal assistants (PAs) on their behalf. See our testimonials for more information on these success stories here.

We provide a service specifically designed to help people avoid the many diverse pitfalls that have been experienced over the last 10 years in both social and health care personal budgets. We can help people to find, choose and then organise their own personal assistants PAs. We will then employ the chosen PAs on their behalf, meaning individuals and families don’t have the hassles and legal responsibilities of being an employer themselves. PA’s can be anyone from a neighbour, friend or family member; or someone chosen through a structured recruitment process.

HomeCareDirect provide or arrange training for the chosen PAs (to national standards) in the specific needs of the individual with their complete involvement. We then act as a nominee, also known as a third party, setting up a separate bank account to hold funds on people’s behalf whilst providing quarterly returns as requested. HomeCareDirect act as a central point of contact for all involved, working closely with all parties to ensure an easy integration of services for the individual and their families. We provide a dedicated care support officer to help people make a success of their personal health budget, alongside a 24 hours a day, 365 days a year emergency line for peace of mind – ensuring everything runs smoothly.

You can find more information on the NHS England website here which has lots of information, resources and individual stories available.

We’re looking forward to working with many more people now that people have the right to ask for a personal health budget and if you’d like to find out more or share your experiences of personal health budgets please get in touch with us here.