NHS Continuing Healthcare to be available as a “Direct Payment” from April 2014

The Care and Support Minister, Norman Lamb, has announced that from April 2014 everyone eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare funding will be entitled to ask for a Personal Health Budget.

Personal Health Budgets are designed to give people the freedom to design their own NHS care. It is an amount of money given to the individual which means they will have more choice and control over the nature of the care and support they receive.

Personal Health Budgets can be delivered in a number of ways:

  • A notional budget held by the Health Authority Commissioner (e.g. a number of hours of care that the service user can draw down at the discretion).
  • A budget managed on the individual’s behalf by a third party (e.g. an Independent User Trust)
  • At a cash payment to the individual (the same as the Direct Payment/Individual Budget method used by social services).

This announcement is of particular interest to people who are currently receiving social services funded care packages as a Direct Payment/Individual Budget and managing their own care who are facing the prospect of moving over to NHS Continuing Healthcare. It means that from 2014 they will be able to continue organising their care in exactly the same way they currently are under the Direct Payment/Individual Budget.

The government has been running a number of pilot schemes around the country where Personal Health Budgets have been available. These areas will remain authorised to continue providing people with Personal Health Budgets and from April 2014 they will become available throughout England. (Personal Health Budgets will not be available in Wales and NHS Continuing Healthcare operates differently in Scotland and Northern Ireland)

More details of what the Care and Support Minister said can be found in the Press Release. For more information email SIA’s NHS Continuing Healthcare Adviser, Brian O’Shea, b.oshea@spinal.co.uk or call on 0845 678 6633.