The fifth interim independent evaluation report about the personal health budget pilot programme has been published by the personal health budgets evaluation (PHBE) team.
The report is based on interviews with 52 budget holders and 13 carers in the pilot.
These interviews suggest there is widespread potential for personal health budgets to lead to improvements in health and wellbeing. The majority of people with a personal health budget benefited through both improved health outcomes and increased satisfaction levels. Increased self-confidence, reduced use of GP services and prescriptions and better relationships with health professionals were among the other reported benefits.
As budget holders’ health improved they reported:
- needing to rely less on family carers
- less anxiety and stress on the part of relatives
- increased ability to take part in family activities
Carers also reported direct benefits when personal health budgets reduced the amount of care they had to give and indirect benefits from seeing improvements in the wellbeing of the person they supported.
As with the fourth interim report on the pilot published in October 2011, this report highlights that the role of information, advice and support is vitally important. The report identifies some challenges, and work continues to explore these in more detail, to develop methods to overcome them and help the NHS to deliver personal health budgets in the longer term.