My honourable friend the Minister of State, Department of Health (Phil Hope) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
A consultation has been launched on the Government’s proposals for piloting direct payments for healthcare. Subject to parliamentary approval, the Health Bill provides power to make regulations allowing direct payments in authorised pilot schemes. The consultation document outlines how we propose to use this power.
The direct payment pilots would form part of a wider pilot programme, announced in High Quality Care For All, to explore personal budgets in the National Health Service.
Personal health budgets are intended to help create a more personalised NHS by giving people more control over their care. Primary care trusts are already able to offer personal budgets that do not involve giving money directly to individual patients. The Health Bill would provide the additional option of a direct payment, where individuals receive money to arrange and pay for their own services.
This England-only consultation will last for 12 weeks, finishing on 8 January 2010.
The consultation document has been placed in the Library and copies are available to honourable Members from the Vote Office. It can also be found at www.dh.gov.uk/en/Consultations/Liveconsultations/DH_107425.