Key Messages

  1. A person-centred approach is the most important driver of better joining-up health and care services to meet individual’s needs. Personal budgets and integrated health budgets are important mechanisms for personalisation, but they are just one approach and will not be right for everyone.
  2. An essential prerequisite to any extension of personal health budgets is that everyone in the NHS – from senior NHS leadership to frontline clinicians – is committed to putting the person, not the organisation or professional, at the centre of decision-making.
  3. The changes must also lead to meaningful choice for individuals that improves their outcomes. Personal budgets are not an end in themselves. They work well if the market supports genuine choice and people can access information and advice to make informed purchasing decisions. Any extension will need to be appropriately resourced to ensure the support is in place.
  4. There is an opportunity to build upon local government’s extensive experience of social care personal budgets. In addition, the final report from the Integrated Personal Commissioning Programme will be published in September 2018 and it would be sensible to reflect this learning in taking forward the consultation proposals.
  5. Adult social care faces a funding gap of £2.2 billion by 2020 and that is just the cost of core pressures including demography, inflation and the National Living Wage. We need an immediate injection of funding to stabilise the here and now as a down-payment on the green paper which must seek to secure the long-term sustainability of this vital service.