PlayStations and footie tickets bought for NHS patients using taxpayer cash

THOUSANDS of pounds of taxpayers’ cash is being spent on luxuries such as National Trust passes, footie tickets and PlayStations for NHS patients.

Public money has also gone on holidays, garden furniture, trampolines and tickets to theme parks.

They were all allowed under a growing scheme known as personal health budgets, which allow around 200,000 patients in England to decide what care or equipment would support them.

Critics say there should be tighter rules on spending at a time when millions of workers face a National Insurance hike to provide £12billion extra a year for the NHS from next spring.

Last night James Roberts of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: “Given the new health and social care levy, taxpayers will not accept their money being wasted.

“While everyone’s care needs will be different, it beggars belief health ­budgets could be forking out for video games and football tickets.”

Since 2014, patients eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare for long-term physical or mental health needs can ask for a ­personal health budget.

Several thousand pounds a year can be spent on therapy, equipment or personal care.

The NHS says the cash helps improve patients’ health, care and reduces costs down the line.

But money cannot be spent on gambling, debt repayment, alcohol, tobacco, or anything illegal.

The TaxPayers’ Alliance asked all local NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups — which approve the payments — to list items and services they bought in 2020-21 that did not cover traditional care, medicine or transport.

It found CCGs paid for PlayStations, iPads, holiday cottages and beach huts.

Some splashed out on a package that included a National Trust membership, Chelsea FC tickets and ­tickets to theme parks.

The NHS said last night: “Personal health budgets support people within their community living with profound and multiple physical disabilities, mental health, learning disability and or autism, and it is for CCGs to work with patients and families to make decisions on individual budgets.

“The NHS always expects those budgets to provide the best value for money.”

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