31 July 2012

RCGP Calls for More Clarity on Personal Health Budgets

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) wants to work with the government on finalising the planned roll-out of personal health budgets across England in October.

An RCGP position statement released today states that while it believes that personal health budgets could realise significant benefitsin personalised care and shared decision making for some patients, the implementation of personal health budgets poses challenges that have not yet been addressed by the government.

The RCGP has written to Care Services Minister Paul Burstow MP asking him to address the risks identified in the position statement, prior to the roll-out of personal health budgets.

Key issues raised by the RCGP include:

  • Achieving the appropriate balance of responsibilities for ensuring the clinical effectiveness and quality of services purchased
  • Managing the impact of the introduction of personal health budgets on Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) costs and on the financial sustainability of existing NHS services
  • Setting appropriate budgets in line with the principle of the provision of comprehensive health services on the basis of clinical need, free at the point of use
  • Ensuring that personal health budgets do not give rise to new health inequalities

The RCGP’s statement recommends that GPs should review all personal health budget care plans and calls on commissioners to put in place sufficient resources to support the care planning process. It also makes clear that any personal health budget should meet the full cost of the services identified in an individual’s care plan as being necessary, and for processes to be put in place to ensure that health needs continue to be met if the money runs out.

RCGP Vice-Chair, Professor Nigel Mathers, who has led on development of the RCGP’s position paper, said:

“We believe very strongly in the importance of each patient having personalised care and an opportunity to be involved in making decisions in partnership with their GP.”

“Personal health budgets could potentially realise great benefits for our patients – but we want the government to work with us to ensure that it gets the policy framework for implementation right and that the lessons from the pilot sites are learnt. We also need to be convinced that any potential risks have been mitigated.”


RCGP Press office – 020 3188 7574/7575/7576
Out of hours:  0203 188 7659  


The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 44,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.

The RCGP Position Statement on Personal Health Budgets is available on the RCGP website at http://www.rcgp.org.uk/policy/position_statements/personal_health_budgets.aspx

The Government’s White Paper “Caring for our future: reforming care and support” can be viewed here: http://www.dh.gov.uk/health/files/2012/07/White-Paper-Caring-for-our-future-reforming-care-and-support-PDF-1580K.pdf

Practical guidance on personal health budgets for GPs will be published by the RCGP later in the year.