Evidence is building that people using direct payments to meet their health needs can lead to more effective healthcare. So far, the implementation of direct payments and personal health budgets for NHS services has been limited to relatively small-scale pilots. However, subject to the results of the national evaluation that is due in October 2012 the government intends to roll out personal health budgets for people with long-term health conditions. Health service finance managers have a vital role to play in managing this important transition and this practical guide is designed to provide them with an overview of the policy and of the practical issues entailed in rolling out direct payments as a key part of good healthcare delivery.
1. What are direct payments? 2. Other ways of delivering personal health budgets 3. How to cost direct payments 4. How direct payments for healthcare can be spent 5. Integrating direct payments between health and social care 6. Monitoring and reviewing direct payments 7. The role of direct payment support services 8. Concluding thoughts Appendices i. Example personal health budget team financial process ii. A checklist for what must be included in a care or support plan iii. Example healthcare direct payment contract