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Consultation on patient budget control launched

5 March 2013

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Personal health budgets which could allow patients to directly employ carers are under consultation, the government has announced. 
Allowing patients to have more control over the care they receive, personal health budgets would be available through the NHS locally. 
Patients would then work with clinicians to decide how the money is best spent to benefit their health. 
‘Freedom’ to plan
“Personal health budgets give people the freedom to plan their own care in a way that works best for them,” deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said. 
Nick Clegg hopes the help would keep more patients out of hospital, giving them a “better quality of life”. 
Under the proposed changes, a person with rheumatoid arthritis could employ a carer on a flexible basis, allowing them to call on them for immediate care. 
Currently the scheme is only available as a pilot scheme. After the eight-week consultation the government hopes it will be rolled out across the country. 
Patient involvement
The consultation will definite who is entitled to the scheme and what services should be excluded. 
Also up for consideration is whether there should be an option for family members or friends to be paid for managing complex or large direct payments. 
At the launch, Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb said: “We want patients to be fully involved in their care, allowing them to make decisions with their clinicians to improve the quality of their life.  
“Personal Health Budgets help people to think outside the box in terms of treatment and how their health can be improved.” 
In November 2012 an independent review into personal health budgets found they were cost-effective and improved patient quality of life, decreasing the number of hospital visits.