Evidence is building that people using direct payments to meet their health needs can lead to more effective healthcare. So far, the implementation of direct payments and personal health budgets for NHS services has been limited to relatively small-scale pilots. However, subject to the results of the national evaluation that is due in October 2012 the government intends to roll out personal health budgets for people with long-term health conditions. Health service finance managers have a vital role to play in managing this important transition and this practical guide is designed to provide them with an overview of the policy and of the practical issues entailed in rolling out direct payments as a key part of good healthcare delivery.
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In 2007, the HFMA launched its Primary Care Finance group and over the last five years the group has sought to influence primary care finance policy and has been involved with many different projects including briefings, surveys, presentations and responses to consultation papers. As a result of the changing health service landscape, the group decided to broaden its scope to encompass all facets of healthcare finance commissioning and now includes representatives from the full spectrum of commissioning organisations. The group, which is now called the HFMA Commissioning Finance Group, has representation from: - PCT cluster Finance Directors/ Chief Finance Officers - Locality Finance Directors / Sub Cluster CFOs - Clinical Commissioning Group finance leads - Senior PCT finance staff - Other senior finance staff responsible for commissioning. The group meets four times a year to discuss current policy (with a view to influencing how it develops), share good practice and develop guidance that will help all those involved in commissioning.
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