Patients are given greater say in their own healthcare in local trial

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Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is at the forefront of a fundamental change in the way the NHS delivers healthcare with the aim of improving quality of care and increasing the wellbeing of patients.

The CCG is among a number of sites across England trialling a new personalised care model that gives patients a greater say and more control over the healthcare they receive.

And the results have been so positive the BLMK Integrated Care System made up of Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes CCGs is receiving additional funding from NHS England to further develop its programme of personalised care.

Diana Butterworth is Head of Continuing Healthcare and Personalisation for Bedfordshire CCG. She says personalised care helps people with multiple physical and mental health conditions make decisions about managing their health, enabling them to live the life they want to live, based on what matters to them.

Personalised care is an important part of the NHS’s Long Term Plan.

The aim is to help a range of patient groups who sometimes feel let down by the current system, which they believe is fragmented and fails to recognise their individual needs.

Groups affected include people with chronic illness and complex needs, those managing long-term conditions or mental health issues, or who are struggling with social issues which affect their health and wellbeing.

Diana explains: “A one-size-fits-all health and care system simply cannot meet the increasing complexity of people’s needs and expectations. By working more closely with the patient we can create a healthcare plan that exactly meets their individual requirements.

“Furthermore, there is growing evidence that by involving people in decisions about their health improves their quality of care, improves their health and wellbeing, and results in a more efficient use of healthcare resources.”

In adopting this new approach, Bedfordshire CCG is introducing the key components that combine to deliver personalised care. These include shared decision making, supported self-management, social prescribing and personal health budgets.

“A personal health budget is allocated to those with complex long-term health needs,” says Diana.

“It is an amount of money for the cost of the patient’s support and care which has been discussed, planned and agreed between the patient, or their representative, and the local NHS team. The money can be used for treatments, equipment and care services, in a way that meets the patient’s individual needs.”