People with long-term conditions such as motor neurone disease look set to manage their own budget to choose which NHS services they want
Health chiefs are preparing for the expansion of a pilot to give patients their own budget so they can pick and choose which NHS services they want.
The Department of Health (DoH) said £1.5 million has been set aside for the potential roll-out of personal health budgets after trials in more than 60 primary care trusts (PCTs).
Patients with long-term conditions such as multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease and diabetes could receive individual payments for their healthcare, following a similar scheme to give older people control of their own social care budget.
A final evaluation of the three-year test programme will be published next month when a decision will be made on whether it should be offered nationwide.
Care and support minister Norman Lamb said: "We want to ensure more care is tailored around people's individual needs and preferences. Giving those with complex health needs the control of how to spend money on their care gives them and their doctors the flexibility to try innovative new approaches to achieve better health outcomes.
"Subject to the results of the current pilot programme, our aim is to introduce a right to a personal health budget for people who would benefit from them most. The scale and pace of this will be informed by the independent evaluation."
Personal health budgets are developed by patients alongside their healthcare professionals, then agreed with their local PCT or clinical commissioning group, and the DoH said the £1.5 million fund will support their expansion to April next year.
The budgets are offered on a voluntary basis while the Government's longer-term aim is to introduce a right to a personal health budget for any patient who would benefit from them.
The pilot has involved patients with a range of long-term conditions including people who have had a stroke and those with neurological conditions, diabetes, mental health needs and respiratory problems such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
People will need a separate bank account to receive a personal health budget through a direct payment. This account must only be used for purchasing care or receiving and managing a social care budget or independent living fund payments, the DoH said.