PlayStation, iPad and pottery classes bought with NHS budget
- Credit: Archant Norfolk
A PlayStation 4, iPad and wild bird seed were among more than £3,500 worth of items bought from a local NHS budget within the last year.
The NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group provided justifications for all six items bought with the personal health budget, with some focused on tackling isolation, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic.
The figures reveal the CCG spent £579.98 on a PlayStation 4, with a Virtual Reality package, for a patient who they say "clearly trailed friends and unable to access the outside world."
The justification adds: "The patient can visit places they are unable to travel to and improve their mental health and wellbeing."
Pottery and craft classes, worth £930 per year, were also bought to give the recipient a "sense of achievement and social interactions," while another was given £400 in craft supplies "to support health and wellbeing during Covid and not being able to do normal outside activities."
A total of £250 was also spent on wild bird food "to benefit both physical and mental health," with the patient largely house-bound due to the pandemic.
Weighing scales costing £499 were also bought to allow a patient to be "regularly monitored to facilitate safe and quantified weight loss and to improve physical health."
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The final item was an Apple iPad, costing £877. The justification states: "The patient required an iPad in order to ensure their future proofing for transition into new settings with new staff and intervenors. It will contain videos relevant to all health needs."
The figures were revealed following Freedom of Information requests sent to Clinical Commissioning Groups around the country by the TaxPayers' Alliance, which found one CCG spent £5,000 on a hot tub, and another spent £3,000 on a National Trust membership, Merlin Pass and Chelsea season ticket.
Political director James Roberts said: "Taxes on working people should not be going up to pay for health service hot tubs.
"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 that health budgets could be forking out for jacuzzis, video games and football tickets.
"The upcoming spending review needs to ensure the NHS is offering value for money in every pound it is spending."
Norfolk and Waveney CCG have been contacted for comment.