Personal health budgets: the views of service users and carers

Source:
SCIE Social Care Online
Publisher:
NHS Confederation
Publication date:
01 January 2011

Abstract

This report presents the views of mental health service users and carers about personal health budgets. It is based on research undertaken with 162 service users and carers who took part in the study – 58 by participating in focus groups and 104 by responding to an online survey. The main aims of this study were to find out what mental health service users and carers thought about personal health budgets, in particular: their usefulness in meeting people’s needs; the level of understanding and awareness about them and personalisation more widely; and what support and information people would need if they were to take up a personal health budget. Key findings from participants suggested that the process behind personal health budgets needs to be transparent. Their introduction must not lead to valued existing services being closed. They must be adaptable to fluctuating needs. Appropriate levels of support must be given at every stage of the process. They must be accompanied by a shift in organisational and professional culture towards partnership and supported risk taking. Finally, they must be aligned with personal budgets in social care and grounded in a broader social understanding of mental health.