The Department of Health plans to start allowing patients with long-term conditions to purchase NHS care packages from personal allowances.
According to a BMA survey, only 10% of doctors believe PHBs will improve clinical outcomes, while only 40% believe it will be cost-effective.
The rollout of PHBs follows a number of pilot programmes in 2009.
The BMA’s survey took responses from over 200 doctors. While 60% agreed that patients with long-term conditions should have more control over their care, 70% said they were not well informed about PHBs.
Only 20% supported the idea of PHBs, 10% thought it would improve patient outcomes, and 40% thought it would improve control of costs.
Dr Mark Porter (pictured), Chair of the BMA Council, said: “Doctors are yet to be convinced of the benefit of personal health budgets and have a number of doubts about their clinical and financial implications.
“Nevertheless, there is recognition that personal health budgets could have benefits for patients with long-term conditions. In principle, empowering individuals to play an active role in decisions around their care, in partnership with their doctors, offers a real opportunity to make the NHS more responsive to individual needs.”
He argued for a delay in the rollout of PHBs pending:
• an information campaign on PHBs for healthcare professionals
• more evidence to show the benefits of PHBs for patient outcomes
• procedures to ensure that PHBs are cost-effective.
“The BMA will seek to work with the government to make sure that patients get the best deal from any proposed introduction of personal health budgets,” Porter concluded.