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Individuals to be allowed to control their own NHS and community care

High-need individuals to be given the option from next year in some areas

Ingrid Torjesen

Wednesday, 09 July 2014

High-need individuals are to be offered the ability to control their own blended NHS and community care, in partnership with voluntary sector, Simon Stevens chief executive of NHS England announced today.

Speaking at the annual conference of the Local Government Association in Bournemouth, Stevens set out plans for a new Integrated Personal Commissioning (IPC) programme, building upon the Better Care Fund, which will for the first time blend comprehensive health and social care funding for individuals, and allow them to direct how it is used.

It extends and combines current work on 'year of care' NHS commissioning, personal budgets in 'continuing care', and the early experience of 14 'integrated care pioneers'.  

Four groups of high-need individuals are expected be included in the first wave from next April 2015: people with long-term conditions, including frail elderly people at risk of care home admission; children with complex needs; people with learning disabilities: and people with severe and enduring mental health problems. Councils, voluntary organisations, and NHS clinical commissioning groups may also propose other groups. 

Third Sector organisations will be commissioned locally to support personal care planning, advocacy and service 'brokerage' for individuals enrolled in the IPC programme.

Mr Stevens said: “We need to stop treating people as a collection of health problems or treatments. We need to treat to them as individuals whose needs and preferences should be seen in the round and whose choices shape services, not the other way round. 

"That's the big offer the NHS increasingly has to make to our fellow citizens, to local authorities, and to voluntary organisations. We need a double N in 'NHS' - a National Health Service offering more Neighbourhood health support."

Under the new IPC programme, a combined NHS and social care funding endowment will be created based on each individual's annual care needs. This will blend funds contributed from local authorities and NHS commissioners (CCGs and NHS England). Individuals enrolled in the programme will be able to decide how much personal control to assume over how services are commissioned and arranged on their behalf. NHS care will in all cases remain free at the point of use, and available according to individual need.

NHS England will now work with partners in local government, CCGs, patient groups and the voluntary sector to develop an IPC Prospectus which will be published at the end of July. This will formally invite local expressions of interest in jointly developing and participating in the IPC programme from April 2015. 

NHS England will provide technical support to develop projects, and fund independent evaluation. Wider scale rollout of successful projects is envisaged from 2016/17.

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