Voluntary and community organisations hold the key to personalisation in healthcare

A new report from the Voluntary Voices partnership has found that Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) organisations play a pivotal role in delivering personalised care

Based on Voluntary Voices' work with health and care commissioners and the VCSE sector, 'IPC and Personal Health Budget Support and Development Programme: Learning and Next Steps' explores in detail the successes in delivering Personal Health Budgets (PHBs).  

PHBs are one of the most valuable ways of transforming healthcare for individuals. A PHB is an amount of money controlled by an individual to support their health and wellbeing needs. Figures from NHS England show that 75% of people with a PHB believe their health and wellbeing has improved as a result.  

Findings within the new report, compiled by National Voices, Volunteering Matters and NAVCA, set out how PHBs are enabling people to make new choices and share responsibility for their own health and wellbeing. PHBs are helping them to be active citizens, included in their communities.  

The report explores collaboration between the voluntary sector and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in the delivery of PHBs. It confirms that engagement with voluntary organisations is critical in making individual transformations through PHBs possible. However, both health commissioners and the voluntary sector have a responsibility to work together to make this a reality for individuals.  

Personalisation is a huge cultural shift, and to achieve this takes support on all sides. This can only happen through truly valuing everyone involved: CCGs, the voluntary sector, and, most importantly, people who stand to gain from having a PHB.  

The report highlights areas of the country where the relationship is working well. In Warrington, the CCG and the voluntary sector are working together to provide more personalised care and support at the end of life. PHBs have enabled 83% of people to die in a place of their choosing, against an average of 26%.  

Nationally, interest in PHBs has increased in recent months. In March, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Jeremy Hunt acknowledged PHBs are key to enabling people to have control over their healthcare and live better lives. NHS England is aiming for 50-100,000 people to have a PHB by 2021, and a consultation on extending the right to have a personal health budget closes today (8 June 2018).

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