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Getting serious about personalisation in the NHS

On the 9th July 2014, NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens announced a new form of radical, people-powered commissioning of health and social care, including the extended use of personal health budgets and integrated personal budgets across health and social care. The Integrated Personal Commissioning (IPC) programme, starting from April 2015, will bring together health and social care funding around individuals, enabling them to direct how it is used for the first time.1 This represents a step change in ambition for actively involving people, carers and families as partners in their care. This is underpinned by the support and leadership of the NHS, local government and the voluntary sector.

Personal budgets are part of a wider approach to personalisation, a mechanism for shifting the culture and practice of care to be better coordinated and personcentred. Alongside the reshaping of services, supporting self-management and personal care and support planning, personal budgets help meet the challenge of changing expectations of care while promoting better quality of life and value for money. The objective is that in future people should expect the same focus on their independence, the same regard for their wishes and the same opportunities to make choices and take control, whether they have a long term condition or a social care need, a mental health problem or a learning disability. This means getting serious about personalisation in the NHS.

For the NHS, this is the opportunity to realise the huge potential for activating patient’s knowledge, skills, and confidence to take a greater role in improving health outcomes.2 For local government, it is the opportunity to build on many years of leading the way with personalisation, to create a shared approach to early intervention and prevention and a joined up offer for personalised care and support. For people with health and care needs, it is an opportunity to build on their collective lived experience, including through user-led organisations. For all, there is a compelling case for change and an urgent need to act now.

This document complements the prospectus for the IPC programme. It explains the context for these reforms and the story so far, sharing learning about what personal budgets are, including their proven and anticipated benefits. It also describes the broader implications of personalisation for the health and social care system, drawing on evidence of what works.