Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Thousands 'Being Spent on Treats for NHS Patients'

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Thousands 'Being Spent on Treats for NHS Patients'

Article excerpt

Byline: Jane Kirby Reporter

THOUSANDS of pounds of NHS cash is being spent on treats for patients, including holidays, aromatherapy, new clothes and a summer house, according to an investigation. Personal health budgets are being spent on activities such as horse riding, art classes, massage and personal trainers, Pulse magazine found.

The budgets were introduced by the Government to allow people with long-term conditions and disabilities greater choice and control over the healthcare and support they receive.

Together with an NHS team or GP, patients develop a care plan on how the money should be spent.

The pot of cash can be used to pay for a wide range of services, including therapies to help with depression, help with personal care such as dressing and washing, and equipment. The amount of money varies from person to person and depends on a patient's needs.

Pulse used the Freedom of Information Act to find out how much was spent in 2014/15 on personal health budgets. Some 33 Clinical Commissioning Groups out of 209 in England provided full responses.

The NHS Nene Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the NHS Corby CCG, which handle health money for Northamptonshire, spent PS2.55 million between them on personal health budgets for 161 patients.

From this, some money was spent on a family holiday to allow a patient to "re-establish relations" with their children while another went on holiday with a dog.

Cash was also spent on a satnav, new clothes, an iRobot cleaner and the construction of a summer house so one patient could have "their own space".

Further money was spent on hydrotherapy, shiatsu, Indian head massages, art classes and kitchen equipment, including a food processor. A spokesman said the money was to achieve outcomes that "focus on improving an individual's health and wellbeing. …

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