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Eight areas to ‘blend’ health and social care budgets under new pilot

The first eight sites across England where projects will blend health and social care funding have been named by the Local Government Association (LGA) and NHS England. 

Demonstrator sites as part of the Integrated Personal Commissioning (IPC) programme, which will provide 10,000 people with complex needs with greater power to decide how their combined health and social care budget is spent, are: 

  • Stockton-on-Tees: Partners will work on developing a model for the management of long-term conditions for older people.
  • Barnsley: Will work together to develop a model supporting people with complex diabetes.
  • Cheshire West & Cheshire: Working together, the local NHS, council, and voluntary sector will ensure more people with learning disabilities in Cheshire can be supported to live in the community.
  • Luton: Through the IPC people with dementia will be offered more choices about their care with the goal of being able to stay independent for longer.
  • Tower Hamlets: By March 2017 partners aim to expand the offer of personal health budgets to include: people with long-term conditions, particularly adults and children with more complex health needs.
  • Hampshire: Partners will work with children and young people in transition (14-25 years old) with complex needs such as learning disability, mental health problems and physical condition.
  • Portsmouth: Supporting older people with multiple long-term conditions who are most at risk of avoidable hospital admissions.
  • South West Consortium: Partners will be working to improve care for people with a range of multiple long-term conditions; including mental health issues; learning disabilities and children with complex needs. 

As part of the pilots, four groups of high-need individuals will take control of their budgets to an agreed plan. These include: older people with long-term conditions; children with disabilities and their families; people with learning disabilities; and people living with a serious mental illness.

Starting on 1 April 2015, the IPC programme is a key stage in the delivery of the NHS Five-Year Forward View, set out in October 2014.

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, chair of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “Councils have made great strides in introducing personal budgets for people, who through personalised care and support are able to live independently. 

“People are best placed to decide what support they need to enable them to live full and independent lives.” 

Once live, the LGA will work with the demonstrator sites to see how this works in practice and share any valuable lessons with all health and care commissioners. 

The successful sites are now working on refining their project plans ahead of the launch in April and further demonstrator sites could follow in 2016-17. 

Simon Stevens, chief executive at NHS England, said: “Our aim in this radical initiative is to end fragmented like-it-or-lump-it health and social care, by giving high-need individuals the power for the first time to decide on the blend of support they themselves want.” 

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt added that personal health budgets can make a “real difference” to the frail elderly, those with long-term conditions and disabilities, giving them greater choice and flexibility. 

“This programme will put individuals in control of the health and care support they receive, improving lives for patients and their families,” he said. 

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