The praise that we give the NHS for providing us with a valuable service may be tempered with a raised eyebrow when recognising that the treatment could have been more effective, and less stressful, if our experience had been more joined up.
For simple problems, it is a bearable inconvenience, for the most complex scenarios, the angst is compounded.

In recognition of the extra burden that a fragmented service can place on patients, their families and NHS staff as well, the NHS has created an approach to address this – Integrated Personal Commissioning (IPC). In a nutshell, IPC enables patients, carers and their families to combine and control the resources available to them across the system thereby ‘commissioning’ their own care through personalised care planning and personal budgets.

Watch a video introduction to IPC by Sam Bennett, head of Integrated Personal Commissioning for the NHS, who explains IPC.

Screenshot of opening image from YouTube video on IPC
In the video, Sam Bennett says:

“We’ve focused IPC on those people that get the worst experience of health and care at the moment by virtue of the complexity of their needs, and the number of different services that they need to engage with to be able to live a good life.

So we’ve focused on people with learning disabilities, particularly those with behavior that challenges traditional services, with people with severe and enduring mental health problems, older people with multiple long term conditions, and importantly also, this is an adult and children’s agenda, so we’re focusing on children with complex needs as well.

The overall purpose of the programme is to improve their quality of life, to better integrate health and social care services, and education where that’s appropriate, around the needs of the individual, and to improve their experience of care, and reduce unplanned hospital admissions, and appropriate placements in institutional settings where that’s avoidable.

It’s less about fixing their medical needs, and more about how we develop a holistic plan for people’s health and wellbeing needs, that respond to what’s important to them as well as what’s important for them. A big part of that and the third shift, is a real strong community and peer focus, through that planning conversation, so we’re not assuming statutory services are the answer. We’re working proactively to link people in their community based resources and to strengthen their connections to their community and we’re putting them in touch with peers who have lived experience that help strengthen their capacity to self-manage.”

Luton is one of nine demonstrator sites selected to redesign the model of care for people with complex needs in England.
This initiative by NHS England to join up health and social care for those with high level, complex needs aims to shift power to the individuals who access health and social care, allowing them to shape the services around their needs instead of fitting around standard service provisions. The goals of the programme are to:

  • Create a better quality of life for those with complex needs and their carers
  • Prevention of crises that lead to unplanned hospital and institutional care
  • Better integration and quality of care

IPC will involve producing one care plan which covers all the health and social care needs of the individual and an optional integrated personal budget, where appropriate, to enable those needs to be met with the services of the patient’s choosing.
The programme runs for three years, due to be reviewed in 2018.
Initially, those people selected to take part in the IPC programme will have complex needs – a diagnosis of dementia, learning difficulties and serious mental health – due to their needs often spanning across health and social care.

Logo for PeopleHub organisation

Recently Rita Brewis and Colin Royle from PeopleHub presented IPC to staff from different organisations at The Disability Resource Centre and their role in creating a Luton Coproduction Peer Network.
PeopleHub are a community interest company (CIC) who are working with NHS England, Luton Borough Council and other voluntary sector organisations.
The aims of the coproduction are:

  • Connecting people to each other:
    • People in Luton
    • People in Luton with the National Integrated Personal Commissioning programme
    • People in Luton with the local decision makers
  • Giving you the chance to influence how Integrated Personal Commissioning can be developed and work best for people with disabilities and long-term health conditions
  • Sharing what’s being learnt about Integrated Personal Commissioning at a local and national level
  • Supporting each other

Rita and Colin explained the reasons why a peer network is important:

  • Personal health budgets are still at an early stage of development and there’s still a lot of learning to do
  • The Department of Health and NHS England have worked on the policy around personal health budgets but it’s up to each local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to implement them well
  • NHS England and your local CCG need to hear what works well and what could be done differently to make personal health budgets a success
  • A personal health budget peer network creates a feed back loop
  • Peer support is important for sharing good ideas, signposting to good providers, sharing information and giving each other confidence

There are several video stories on the PeopleHub website that explain how people have benefitted from IPC.

Below are further items of interest and reading: