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Personal Health Budgets: Is your practice compliant?


Planned changes to the way Clinical Commissioning Groups plan Personal Health Budgets could cause legal issues for GPs and their practices.

David Edwards, head of the healthcare sector team at Harrison Drury solicitors, explains the implications.

The Government recently outlined changes to how the UK’s 211 Clinical Commissioning Groups are required to develop Personal Health Budgets over the next five years.

The changes are likely to affect the services commissioned by CCGs (who are responsible for around 60% of the NHS budget), and include:

  • Most planned hospital care
  • Rehabilitative care
  • Urgent and emergency care (including out-of-hours)
  • Most community health services
  • Mental health and learning disability services

Over the course of 2016 CCGs will need to develop a plan including specific milestones for improving patient choice.

Below are some of the steps that CCGs will be required to take in the coming months:

April 2016 – Personal Health Budgets should be an option for individuals with learning disabilities. CCGs will therefore be required to engage with communities, schools and councils and set goals for expanding Personal Health Budgets within their local Joint Health Wellbeing Strategy.

June 2016 – CCG’s Sustainability and Transformation plans must answer the following question regarding the closure of the Health and Wellbeing gap: “How will a major expansion of integrated personal health budgets…be an integral part of your programme to hand power to patients?”

The changes to Personal Health Budgets could therefore cause legal issues for GPs if the budgets and any related policies they have in place are not compliant, particularly in light of the responsibilities placed on GPs following the introduction of CCGs.

It is therefore important that GPs and practice managers review their Personal Health Budget policies to ensure that they are compliant with the upcoming changes.

David Edwards leads Harrison Drury’s team of healthcare lawyers. As an expert in regulatory law and compliance matters, David is able to advise healthcare professionals on a wide range of legal matters. To contact David, call 01772 258 321.

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