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“2020health is an important and thoughtful contributor to the health debate”

Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, Chairman, Health Select Committee

 
 

Pulse GPs 'should take control of personal health budgets'

GP practices should be put in charge of administering direct payments to patients as part of the personal health budget scheme, a leading think-tank has recommended in a report launched by the care minister overseeing the initiative.

Under proposals suggested by 2020health, which were launched today by health minister Norman Lamb, GPs would be subcontracted by CCGs in certain cases to make ‘small discretionary payments’ to patients as part of the personal health budget scheme, with the practices taking responsibility for the administration of the budgets. In the pilot, the GP role was limited to making referrals and recommendations.

The authors, who looked at the DH’s analysis of the pilot results published last year as well as at data stemming directly from the pilot areas, came out strongly in support of personal budgets for mental health patients and those requiring continuing care. They also said it should in future be rolled out for arthritic patients, for haemodialysis transport and falls prevention.

But GP leaders said that taking on the administration of the scheme - which is due to be rolled out by April 2014 to 56,000 patients receiving continuing care - would add ‘budgetary bureacracy’ to practices at a time when CCGs are allowed to personalise commissioning arrangements without the need of a new initiative.