NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens revealed plans to offer local governments the chance to take part in the integrated personal commissioning (IPC) programme at the Local Government Association conference on Wednesday.
The ‘radical’ programme marks the first time health and social care funding will be combined for individuals, and will allow them to decide for themselves how much control they wish to assume over how services are commissioned and arranged on their behalf.
NHS England said the plan would ‘give control to those people who have the biggest interest in getting things right - people receiving services and their carers’.
It added that the programme ‘builds upon, but is in addition to’ work on the Better Care Fund
High-need patients in first wave
Four groups of patients, identified as ‘high-need’, will form the first wave of the programme, with an expected rollout date of April 2015. Wider implementation of the programme is slated for 2016/17.
The high-need groups include people with long-term conditions, children with complex needs, people with learning disabilities and people with severe mental health problems.
Voluntary and third sector organisations will be commissioned locally to provide aid and support for individuals enrolled in the IPC programme.
Mr Stevens said: ‘Patients, service users and carers have the biggest interest in getting things right, but they can only do so if we give them real power to shape their own care.
‘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.’
NHS England said it would work with local government, CCGs, patient groups and the voluntary sector to develop a prospectus for the IPC programme, scheduled for publication at the end of the month.