Patient budgets and practice quality accounts feature in Health Bill

The government has moved forward with plans to allow direct payments from the NHS to patients to cover their care.

Photograph: JH Lancy
Photograph: JH Lancy

The Health Bill, receiving its first viewing in parliament this week, sets out plans for the use of personal budgets for patients with long-term conditions.

The Bill also introduces quality accounts – an annual document all NHS bodies, including GP practices, will have to publish as a measure of the quality of services they provide.

Personal budget pilots will begin this year despite warnings from Unison that giving patients their own budgets to use with their own funds could undermine the founding principles of the NHS.

The King’s Fund welcomed the pilots but warned they ‘must be genuine, with no decision to extend the scheme until all the results have been thoroughly evaluated and all the implications understood’.

The Bill also introduces the NHS Constitution, the full text of which will be available later this week.

  • Should patients be given budgets to manage their care?

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