Summer house and iRobot cleaner among treatments paid for by NHS in Northamptonshire

Francis Crick House, NHS Nene's headquarters, Northampton
Francis Crick House, NHS Nene's headquarters, Northampton

A satnav and a summer house were among the things the NHS spent money on in order to treat Northamptonshire patients.

An investigation by Pulse magazine shows that NHS Nene and the NHS Corby spent more than £2.5 million between them on the items last year, which come under Personal Health Budgets.

Some money was spent on a family holiday to allow a patient to “re-establish relations” with their children while another patient went on holiday with their dog.

Cash was also spent on a satnav, clothes, an ‘iRobot cleaner’ and the building of a summer house so one patient could have “their own space”.

The FOI request also reveals that money was spent on hydrotherapy, shiatsu, Indian head massages, art classes and kitchen equipment, including a food processor.

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

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

It 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 depending on the patient’s needs.

In total, 161 Northamptonshire patients benefited from Personal Health Budgets.

An NHS Nene spokesman said the Personal Health Budgets improve people’s health and also actually save the NHS money by replacing other forms of expensive treatment.

A spokesman said: “Personal Health Budgets (PHBs) enable the NHS to provide care packages tailored to the specific complex needs of individual patients, many of whom are among the most seriously ill and vulnerable people in our society.

“Overseen and signed off by clinicians, PHBs empower such patients by helping them to take control of how their needs are met.

“PHBs actually save resources by moving away from traditionally more expensive and inflexible care based on admissions to hospital and care homes.

“Each care plan and budget is reviewed annually and where patients’ health and wellbeing improves, budgets are reduced.”