Association of Mental Health Providers

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Personal Health Budgets for people with mental health needs

The Association welcomes the announcement today by  Caroline Dinenage, Minister of State for Care, extending the legal ‘rights to have’ a personal health budget for people with mental health needs eligible for Section 117 aftercare services and wheelchair users in response to the recent consultation.  It is estimated that around 100,000 people will benefit from this new legal right over the next five years.

This, together with the legal right to personal health budgets by default for those in receipt of NHS Continuing Health Care (which comes into effect on 1 April 2019), demonstrates the commitment of both the Government and the NHS to the expansion of personal health budgets and universal personalised care as stated in the recent NHS Long Term Plan and the Universal Personalised Care model which was published at the end of January this year.

The consultation found that Personal Health Budgets have much to contribute to the recovery of people with mental health conditions, enabling greater choice and control for people so that they can develop care and support that works for them in the context of their own lives. This is particularly the case for people who have experienced periods of detention under the Mental Health Act, and as a result, are eligible for aftercare under Section 117 of the Mental Health Act.

It is important that local commissioning includes infrastructure to support people and families who choose to take Personal Health Budgets, to ensure that people are supported to manage the range of options that Personal Health Budgets offer. Work will need to be developed to ensure that “the market” is ready and able to accept these options, which might include Direct Payments, but may also include notional budgets, or individual service funds. Local work will also need to be developed to potentially grow the Personal Assistance workforce, to ensure that people wanting to employ their own staff are able to do so, and supported to do so. In addition, the mental health workforce will need training and support to ensure that they understand the opportunity that this legal right gives people with mental health problems.

Our members look forward to supporting local commissioners to develop effective systems and processes that enable people and their families to benefit from the best of personalised care and support, and supporting people to exercise greater choice and control through the extension of a right to have a personal health budget.

You can read the consultation here: response.