In November the Government confirmed that PHBs – following a three-year pilot programme – will be rolled out across England.
The easily accessible guide covers what PHBs are, which patients are eligible, and how they can be used effectively. It has been produced with input from GPs and PHB managers with first-hand experience of using PHBs at the pilot sites.
The guide – available free of charge on the College’s website – includes a useful FAQ section and ‘decision tree’ for quick reference purposes. It uses case studies to bring scenarios to life.
PHBs will enable patients to choose treatments, including some that fall outside those traditionally funded by the NHS, to improve their health. They are based on a care planning approach and patients will agree chosen treatments that will then be signed off by the NHS.
Patients in England receiving NHS Continuing Healthcare will be eligible for a personal health budget and, by April 2014, all those with continuing health needs will have the right to ask for a PHB. Clinical Commissioning Groups will be able to offer them more widely to patients who they feel may benefit.
RCGP Chair Dr Clare Gerada said: “This new guide is an excellent and easy reference tool for GPs and will help to make sure that personal health budgets are used in the most beneficial way for patients.
“The College previously published a position statement giving the proposals a ‘cautious amber’ carefully exploring the opportunities and risks involved and will continue to closely monitor the development of personal health budgets.”
The RCGP guide to personal health budgets can be viewed in full here