This report presents the findings of an evaluation commissioned by the Department of Health to identify whether personal health budgets ensured better health and care outcomes when compared to conventional service delivery and, if so, the best way for them to be implemented.
The evaluation found that personal health budgets improved people’s quality of life. The findings show that:
- people had a significant improvement in their care-related quality of life and psychological wellbeing. Their health ‘status’ stayed the same.
- benefits were more marked where people had higher levels of need.
- Personal health budgets also worked better where people were given more choice and control, both over what they bought and how they received the budget. In contrast, where the pilot site imposed a lot of restrictions, personal health budgets tended to worsen people’s outcomes.
- people reported positive impacts of their personal health budget both for themselves and for other family members. They also talked about the change in their relationship with healthcare professionals.
- family carers were more likely to report a better quality of life and perceived health than carers of people in the control group.