Peta Wilkinson, Enham Trust CEO 2

Peta Wilkinson, Enham Trust CEO

The CEO of leading disability charity, Enham Trust, has told a key meeting of major NHS policy makers, senior doctors and health budget specialists that health and social care budgets need to be better organised, less confusing and less bureaucratic.

Speaking at the prestigious Westminster Forum for Health on Tuesday 26 January, Peta Wilkinson said that when they work, PHBs fit perfectly with the ethos of personalised care because of the choice and control they offer those that use them.

But she claimed the system is currently not supporting as many people as it could do because the roll out is simply too slow.

Mrs Wilkinson told the meeting of key stakeholders and policy makers that there is presently a noticeable lack of coordination between health and social care budgets, and asked for a more integrated approach that would better meet the needs of those who rely on Personal Health Budgets.

“PHBs are a positive force in achieving better outcomes for people if we can co-ordinate Health and Social Care Budgets more effectively and reduced bureaucracy.  Very importantly, we must consider the implications for the people who use PHBs in our decision making and we mustn’t restrict interventions based on commonly held views on how we make spending decisions”.

Enham Trust supports people in their transition towards living lives of choice, control and independence.  The charity provides personalised care, living, learning and work opportunities.

Ms Wilkinson went on to stress the important role PHBs play in the lives of Enham Trust residents and clients. She told the story of Maggie, an Enham Trust client whose life was turned around thanks to the support she received using a Personal Health Budget. Maggie’s mother Mary says it has revolutionized her daughter’s care and support programme:

“The Personal Health Budget and support package we have designed around Maggie is working so well. Enham Trust supported us with a very comprehensive plan, encouraging us to consider everything. Before I was having daily input into Maggie’s care, sorting problems out, checking the carers were in and out on time. Now Maggie swims regularly, receives chiropody and she’s so stress free as a result.

“It’s a pity we didn’t do this ten years ago as Maggie’s life would have been so much nicer. There has been a massive reduction in the cost of Maggie’s support and we are looking to reduce this further in the future.”

Ms Wilkinson added: “Some opponents will insist that PHBs are being pushed by the NHS as a cost saving exercise, but if people receive more appropriate care and support, tailored to their individual needs, and the result is actually a cost saving, then who can complain?”

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