A timely paper from the Nuffield Trust reminds us that the Government has committed that from April 2014 everyone who receives NHS continuing health care funding will have a right to request a personal health budget (PHB) rather than receiving commissioned services.
This will be important for some readers because many involved in commissioning will need to start grappling with the issues of providing PHBs, well described in this document. Particularly relevant for some TTA readers will be integration with social care personal budgets which can be used to pay for telecare.
Not covered in the paper is that it’s also going to be critically important for providers of health services, including of course those offering telehealth services, to make both the overall service (eg telehealth) and the individual care provider attractive to patients and their carers. UK Telehealthcare will not have arrived a moment too soon!
For those wondering, the paper describes the outcome of PHB pilots. The big benefit is that by involving patients more in the planning of their care, they adhere better to their care plan, and so achieve improved care-related quality of life and psychological wellbeing. As yet this has not though been reflected in cost reductions in large part because “in some pilot sites personal health budgets were not offered on a cost-neutral basis because of the challenges of decommissioning existing services for a time-limited pilot.” (Now, I wonder, where might that argument have helped a time-limited telehealth trial look more appealing recently?)