Peter worked as an engineer before qualifying as a teacher of craft, design and technology, which took him to the Bahamas. It was whilst living in the Bahamas he lost his arm in a road accident in 1983. He subsequently wore a mechanical prosthesis for 29 years and maintained a very active life style. He now wears a cosmetic prosthesis when necessary and still strives to remain as active as possible.
As a result of years of wearing a mechanical prosthesis, Pete has worn out his neck and shoulders and is in a lot of pain because of the impact of the imbalance from the prosthesis on his entire muscular-skeletal system. No one had ever told him about the long-term impact of wearing a prosthesis and trying to remain so active and he now has to endure muscle spasms and such intense pain that he sometimes cannot touch his heels to the floor. He can no longer drag a towel across his back to dry himself because his arm muscles are so weak.
Peter went to his GP asking for long-term physiotherapy because he had benefited from it when living in the US. He was told that he could not get ongoing physiotherapy from the NHS. All the GP could offer was tranquillisers and muscle relaxants but Pete found that he was always in a daze with the medication.
Another one of Peter’s GP’s patients had a personal health budget so Pete decided to find out if it was a possibility for himself. Fortunately, he was eligible for a personal health budget and is able to use it to get a deep tissue massage from a physiotherapist every four weeks, which along with regular stretching, keeps him mobile and allows him to be productive. Pete describes personal health budgets as a ‘breath of fresh air’. He has been able to stop taking painkillers and muscle relaxants. With care he remains active.
Personal experience fuels his sense of imperative that people with personal health budgets must be familiar with the skills that facilitate good self-management in order to be able to maximise the benefits. Pete further believes that, if properly documented, it is these outcomes that will convince the BMA and GPs as to the value of personal health budgets.