Intended for healthcare professionals

Views And Reviews Acute Perspective

David Oliver: What’s the verdict on personal health budgets?

BMJ 2019; 366 doi: (Published 21 August 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l5138

Re: David Oliver: What’s the verdict on personal health budgets?

I had the privilege of working with the late Professor David Brandon in Cambridge when he was developing Personal Budgets, then called Direct Payments, with the first four participants (service users with disabilities). The success of his innovation required: all the care management skills of David and his wife Althea, participants knowing they had access to them 24/7 if any crisis arose, and building mutual trust and collaboration. The model was then researched in a poor London Borough.[1] To make personal budgets work takes advocacy skills and accurate mapping of local community assets.[2]

If future doctors are going to understand and implement Personal Budgets (a decision for national policy-makers) then they must be trained in both advocacy and asset-mapping. These are key skills for public health, so perhaps that is one place in the curriculum where students might be introduced to what the WHO might consider their "emancipatory potential"?

[1] Maglajlic R, Brandon D, Given D. Making direct payments a choice: a report on the research findings. Disability & Society 2000; 15: 99-113.

[2] Improvement & Development Agency. A glass half-full: how an asset approach can improve community health and well-being. IDeA, London, 2010 - now available online, accessed 22 August 2019).

Competing interests: No competing interests

22 August 2019
Woody Caan
Editor, Journal of Public Mental Health
Duxford, Cambridge