NHS
The NHS comes under fire for its spending on personal healthcare budgetsGetty

The National Health Service has poured thousands of pounds into "personal health care" budgets on treats like holidays and clothes, among others, according to an investigation by Pulse magazine.

The funds have been spent on horse riding, art classes, massage and even on a summer house. Personal health care budgets were introduced by the government to give those with long term conditions more control and choice over their healthcare and support.

Pulse, a magazine for GPs, used the Freedom of Information Act to look at how personal health budgets were spent in England in 2014-15.

Full responses were obtained from 33 clinical commissioning groups of the total 209. In Northamptonshire, a total of £2.55m was spent on personal health budgets for 161 patients. This covered the purchase of sat-nav, new clothes and the construction of a summer house so a patient could have "their own space."

In Cornwall, funds were spend on aromatherapy, horse riding and hiring pedalos while in Stoke-on-Trent, funds were spent on music lessons and a Wii Fit computer game. In West Sussex, a total of £2.6m was spent on 44 patients, the highest spend per person.

The Telegraph cited one case where a mother was given a free holiday so she could "feel like a good mum" to her children while another patient with mental health problems was given an iRobot vacuum cleaner to help her keep her home "orderly".

In another case, a patient was given funds to spend on a family holiday to "re-establish relations" with the children while another was given funds for a holiday with her dog to "reflect and recuperate", the newspaper said.

The British Medical Association's deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said: "While individuals may themselves value a massage or summer house, others will understandably start to question why they can't also have such things paid for by the state - and that will just fuel demand."

NHS England however backed the programme saying: "An independent evaluation has shown that personal health budgets are cost effective, help people manage their helath and improve quality of life."

Its spokesman reiterated that such budgets are designed to "meet identified health needs in ways that give patients more control over the care and support they receive. The spending must be agreed between the individual and the NHS, meet the patient's individual needs and achieve the desired outcomes."