Doctors having a discussion about budgets

Individual patient budgets should play a bigger part in health and social care according to a major new report edited by experts from the University of Birmingham and the Centre for Welfare Reform. It argues that putting individuals in control of their own care budget will improve outcomes and efficiency.

'Active Patient: The case for self-direction in healthcare' suggests that the current system focuses on services rather than the needs of the individual and that the divisions between the NHS and social care providers creates disjointed provision for patients.

Professor Jon Glasby, Director of the Health Services Management Centre at the University of Birmingham, said: "The increase in long-term conditions, like diabetes, has led to significant growth in healthcare costs in the UK. By placing control in the hands of the patient decisions on the day-to-day management of these conditions can be specific and tailored to the needs of the individual - after all they know their condition best."

Dr Simon Duffy, from the Centre for Welfare Reform, adds: "Feedback from individual budget trials in England and the USA has been positive and improvements have been seen in patient satisfaction. The coalition government has already shown support for a personalised system, the next step would be to create more integrated health and social care services which would enable and sustain the development of individual budgets."