AFP6E1 Silhouette of a woman sitting by a window in a dim room and holding her head

A centre for people with serious mental illness run by charity MIND has been forced to close because of ‘drastic’ funding cuts resulting from the expansion of personal health budgets.

The Recovery and Wellbeing Centre, a day care centre in Basildon, closed in May after NHS Basildon and Brentwood CCG diverted funding to develop personal health budgets for patients with mental illness.

The CCG said that personal health budgets give patients more ‘choice’, and they can be spent on services such as gym membership.

But GP leaders said that this ‘highlighted the consequences’ of allowing personal health budgets ‘to proliferate in an unplanned manner’.

The Government offered personal health budgets – which provide patients with their own budget to spend on care they feel would benefit them – to any patient on NHS Continuing Healthcare nationally last year, and it was rolled out to any patient with a long-term condition in April this year.

But this was despite pilots of the scheme drawing criticism after patients spent their budgets on items such as theatre tickets and frozen ready meals, and warnings from a leading think-tank that they would inevitably lead to NHS services being decommissioned.

NHS Basildon and Brentwood CCG has since April introduced personal health budgets for people being cared for by secondary care mental health services, and in the six months after they are discharged.

Full story at Pulse Today.