A Department of Health commissioned, personal health budgets evaluation paper has been published looking at making personal health budgets work in substance misuse services.
The evaluation includes views from patients that indicated personal health budgets had a positive impact on service quality, relationships with health professionals and views on what could be achieved compared with conventional service detox delivery.
The importance of effective implementation was highlighted, both in terms of providing the necessary information to enable budget holders to make an informed choice and also to minimise any delays in the process of obtaining and using a budget. Patients also identified that a list of suggestions of possible uses of personal health budgets would have been useful during the support/care planning stage. Budget-holders who were interviewed emphasised the value of information and guidance in using their budget.
The personal health budget initiative is a key aspect of personalisation across health care services in England. Its aim is to improve patient outcomes, by placing patients at the centre of decisions about their care. In 2009 the Department of Health invited PCTs to become pilot sites to join a programme which would explore the opportunities offered by personal health budgets. The Department of Health commissioned an independent evaluation to run alongside the pilot programme to provide information on how personal health budgets are best implemented, where and when they are most appropriate, and what support is required for individuals. Two pilot sites within the pilot programme explored whether personal health budgets had an impact on outcomes and experiences compared to conventional service delivery among individuals with substance misuse problems.
The full report can be read here.