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With a change in law coming into effect on the 2nd of December, people who use wheelchairs or need mental health support will have greater choice and control in managing their own health and care through extending the right to a PHB.

From the beginning of December, everyone eligible for an NHS wheelchair and people who require aftercare services under section 117 of the Mental Health Act will have access to a personal health budget (PHB).

The announcement comes from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), following new legislation being laid in Parliament.

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PHBs are planned and agreed between individuals and clinicians, giving people greater choice, flexibility and control over their health and care support. PHBs could be used for specially adapted wheelchairs, a choice of personal care assistants and exercise classes to help people maintain a healthy lifestyle, for instance.

This latest announcement supports the NHS Long Term Plan so that up to 200,000 people can receive a PHB by 2024.

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock said: “Everyone deserves the right to make decisions about their care, and health and care should be centred around each and every one of us, not a one-size-fits-all approach.

“Our NHS Long Term Plan has personalised care at its core. This important piece of legislation puts the power back in the hands of more people, transforming the wellbeing and quality of life for thousands while also reducing distressing and avoidable hospital trips.”

Last year, DHSC and NHS England consulted on extending the right to a PHB. The consultation revealed strong support, with nearly nine out of 10 respondents supporting the proposals.

The NHS will continue to explore further extension of legal rights to other groups covered in the consultation as appropriate, including people with ongoing mental health needs and those with learning disabilities.

Minister for Care Caroline Dinenage said: “I’ve seen for myself how personal health budgets are giving people a new lease of life, opening up possibilities to let them live their lives fully. This extension of legal rights will give many more people independence, a say in how they’re cared for, improving their experiences while ensuring value for money for taxpayers.

“This is an important step in our NHS Long Term Plan’s ambition to see personalised care become the norm for thousands more across the country.”

Welcoming this latest announcement, RCOT Chief Executive Julia Scott said: “The Royal College supports expanding personalised health budgets as they allow the person needing support more control over how their needs are met.  Personalised care is at the heart of what occupational therapists do. Every individual is different and occupational therapists tailor their approach to each person, helping them live the lives they want to.

“Occupational therapists have a unique role to play in embedding personalised care within Health and Care as demonstrated in our report Making personalised care a reality: The role of occupational therapy, released earlier in 2019.

“With occupational therapists working in both mental health and wheelchair services, this expansion of the right to have personalised budgets, will ensure they can  truly advocate for people to be active participants, in their health and care.”

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