Published on Tuesday, 15th March 2016


Portsmouth is a pilot site for Integrated Personal Commissioning, an NHS England programme to give people personal budgets for health as well as social care.


Since 2003 Local Authorities have been obliged to offer people who qualify for social services a cash budget that they can spend themselves in lieu of providing a care package if requested by a service user (or their representative or guardian). This works well for some clients, particularly younger people with learning disabilities, but it has proven less popular amongst older people.


The government is moving to expand the right to a personal budget to people with long term medical conditions whose treatment is paid for by the NHS. This means patients may be able to buy hydrology services or pieces of IT equipment to manage their conditions instead of receiving NHS care.


Setting a budget raises some thorny questions, as the patient is still able to access emergency and other care and therefore it is not clear where the personal budget comes from. It is that sort of issue that the pilots need to address.


NHS England has decided to roll out personal commissioning across the country and Portsmouth is one of nine test sites to try and get this right before deploying it on a large scale. Small numbers of patients will be taking part in trials over the coming year to see whether it can both improve patient outcomes and save money.


The general principle of what is being proposed is good and some of the work I have seen has been well thought through. Ultimately the key to keeping NHS costs under control is to spend more on community nursing and services and less on hospitals.


The council is not running this programme, but it is involved and the level of co-operation with the NHS is high

Tags : Adult Social Care, Health