The year of personalised care

by Amanda Hughes

03 March 2020

How can commissioners start to make a reality of the commitment to personalised care in contracts for the new year?

As a former commissioner in a clinical commissioning group, I know that most commissioning teams will be very busy now gearing up for final contract negotiations. This time of year was always fraught as we started to pin down how we would prioritise our efforts with providers for the year ahead. But, it’s also a key opportunity to work together to make a difference for the local area. Better services mean better experiences and outcomes for the whole community.

Personalised care is a good example of one of the opportunities ready to grasp. In a climate of cost-saving and targets, it’s refreshing to focus energies on a really positive approach. The NHS long-term plan and the universal personalised care model have outlined how personalised care is going to be one of the big changes for the coming years. These documents, and the new schedules in the NHS standard contract, will help commissioners and providers explain why personalised care is worth investing in and why we need to spend time, energy and financial resources on these innovative and exciting approaches.

We realise all too well that it’s not always easy to find the resources and money. Our Finance, commissioning and contracting handbook offers a dip-in-and-out guide to help commissioners enable change for personalised care in their area. Our top tips for spring this year include:

  • Incorporate personalised care into every single contract arrangement. This may be small scale, such as expanding a small area of patient choice; or large scale, such as a new offer of personal health budgets. Every service can benefit from its introduction in some form. CCGs can easily commit to this local target.
  • Start to prioritise development of personalised care and support plans (PCSPs) into long term condition pathways. People and the system both benefit when people are able to voice what matters to them and have clear plans in place to meet their individual needs. A simple plan and trajectory can help CCGs target the roll out of PCSPs locally.
  • Start thinking how the NHS can practically get personalised care off the ground in 2020/21. The task of changing conversations can seem daunting, so tackle it in chunks. Start small with select cohorts, pilot new approaches in a safe way, or use incentive schemes such as local CQUIN to fund training and pump-prime new approaches. The handbook has further details on these approaches. When benefit is demonstrated locally, then commissioner and provider will have confidence to roll out further and faster the year after.

Good luck with getting started. Use the handbook where needed and  visit our website for helpful resources. And join our Personalised Care Collaborative Network to find more tools and share progress with colleagues.

Interested in finding out more about how finance can facilitate personalised care? NHS England and HFMA have developed a free online short course on personal health budgets that is available for all staff working in the NHS in England. You can find the course on the Electronic staff record system (ESR) by searching for ‘personal health budgets’.