People with diabetes in three London health trusts may be involved in a trial scheme where they are directly given money to spend on services that could help them to manage their condition.
There are already a number of Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) which are part of the pilot for personal health budgets, where people are able to choose what complementary and support services they want to use to help them manage their diabetes. The direct payment project is different because the money is given straight to patients, rather than held on their behalf by the PCT or a third party.
Putting patients in control
In a written ministerial statement, Care Services Minister Paul Burstow said: "Direct payments, and personal health budgets more generally, have great potential to put patients in control, enable integration across health and social care and improve outcomes."
There are eight direct payments pilot schemes across the country, and they also involve other long-term conditions. Diabetes care only features in three London health trusts: Hammersmith and Fulham PCT, Kensington and Chelsea PCT and Westminster PCT.
"Personal health budgets could assist in personalising care for people with long-term conditions like diabetes, particularly in giving people greater choice about how they plan their own support," said Diabetes UK Policy Manager, Gavin Terry.
Not to be used for clinical care
"For example, people could enrol on weight management programmes, structured education or other complementary therapies and supported self management. It has been made clear that these budgets will not be used to pay for essential clinical care and that in the event of unforeseen circumstances or complications no-one who holds a personal budget will ever be denied care or support that they have planned for. However, it is essential that the initial planning of how the budget will be spent is thorough, and that the plan is reviewed on a regular basis."