Thousands of NHS Patients Could be Given Cash to Tailor Their Care
- New government plans to give patients funds to pay for their own healthcare
- Hundreds of thousands of patients could be affected
- Controversial plan known as ‘personal budgets’
Hundreds of thousands of NHS patients could be given funds to pay for their own healthcare.
New government plans would see the controversial ‘personal budgets’ program rolled out to around 350,000 patients, in a bid to give power back to patients.
The scheme currently affects 23,000 NHS users.
But the Government’s long-term funding plan is to extend the scheme across the health service.
The move is designed to allow patients with ongoing illnesses, such as mental health problems, dementia, or physically and learning difficulties, the ability to tailor their own care and treatment.
Funding for the program comes from the health and social care budgets, in a bid to get different aspects of care to work better together.
The Government has suggested that patients could use the personal budgets to employ friends or relatives as carers, buy equipment, or enrol in activities such as exercise classes to help with their condition.
Caroline Dinenage, Minister for Care, said, “If you have complex needs, our current health and social care system can be confusing, so it’s right people should be involved in the important decision about how their care is delivered.
“These changes will put the power back into the hands of patients and their families, potentially allowing up to 350,000 extra people to take up a personal health budget if they so wish.
“This would not only improve quality of life and the care they receive, it will offer good value for money for the taxpayer and reduce pressure on emergency care by joining up health and social services at a local level.”
But critics of the scheme point out the cash could be spent on anything, like holidays or holistic treatments.
Others fear it could lead to the privatisation of the NHS by taking money from existing services.
Recently, NHS hospitals were criticised for charging staff up to £80 a week for parking, as part of a bid to get extra funding for the NHS.
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