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Coronavirus: Direct Payments & Personal Health Budgets

Some welcome guidance from the Department of Health and Social Care concerning local authority and NHS decisions about permissible use of Direct Payment and Personal Health Budgets during the emergency.

The guidance commences by stating:

  • During the pandemic, we expect local authorities, CCGs and direct payment holders to adopt a more flexible approach to the use of direct payments.

Key points include that (although direct payments should continue to be used as agreed with the local authority / NHS) ‘there may be circumstances during the pandemic where this is not possible, for example, through staff absence’.

In such circumstances, although the problem should be raises and discussed with the local authority / NHS there may be ‘circumstances where there is clear rationale that enables the individual to keep safe and prevent admission to hospital, local authorities and CCGs should be willing to give the individual more flexibility in how they use their direct payment, with the guiding principle being ensuring that they safely receive the care and support they require’ and ‘where necessary, this flexibility should include suspension or reduced restrictions on spend of the existing payment allocation. All flexibility should follow the relevant guidance, for example the COVID-19: ethical framework for adult social care‘.

For the full guidance, click here.

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