Personal health budgets in end of life care

Read about the five areas in England leading the way with introducing personal health budgets for end of life care

Personal health budgets provide an opportunity for people in their final weeks and months of life to have a more personalised experience of care, by giving people more of a say in the care they receive, and helping to ensure it meets their individual needs and preferences.

A personal health budget can help to give people more choice about who provides their care, where their care is received, and their preferred place of death.

People who become eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare funding under the Fast Track Pathway have a legal right to have a personal health budget.

Other people receiving end of life care may be able to access a personal health budget, depending on the local clinical commissioning group (CCG) responsible for health services in the local area, and their plans for the expansion of personal health budgets.

The expansion of personal health budgets is one of a number of initiatives being led by NHS England, alongside other partners, to improve quality and experience of end of life care across the country.

How can personal health budgets help to improve end of life care?

Early findings from areas providing personal health budgets in end of life care indicate that they are an effective way of providing care for people who become eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare under the Fast Track pathway, and that they can support people to have both more choice over the care they receive, and improve their experience of care.

Personalised care and support planning is an essential part of a personal health budget and means that people have conversations much earlier on about what their needs are and how they wish to be supported in their last weeks and months of life.

Providing personal health budgets in end of life care can help to achieve the Ambitions for Palliative and End of Life Care, and support the Government’s end of life care choice commitments, both of which aim to reduce variation in end of life care and ensure people have high quality, personalised care.

The Government’s  commitments are:

  • honest discussions between care professionals and dying people
  • dying people making informed choices about their care
  • personalised care plans for all
  • the discussion of personalised care plans with care professionals
  • the involvement of family and carers in dying people’s care
  • a key contact so dying people know who to contact at any time of day.

In September 2017 the Government published a report detailing the progress made to date to deliver personalisation and choice in care for people at or near the end of life. This report recognised the contribution of personal health budgets to give people more choice and control over the services they receive.

NHS England’s work to improve end of life care through personal health budgets

Since 2016, NHS England has been working with five areas across the country to explore how personal health budgets can be offered to people receiving end of life care, and the potential benefits for people, their families and carers, and the wider system.

These areas are:

  • Crawley, Horsham and Mid Sussex
  • East Lancashire
  • Northern, Eastern and Western (NEW) Devon
  • Southern Derbyshire
  • Warrington

You can read more about the progress that each of the five projects are making one year into the project, and watch two short films that showcase the positive impact on local people and services.

There are other areas around the country that are looking at offering personal health budgets to people receiving end of life care. To find out about plans in your area, please contact the local clinical commissioning group (CCG).

Support for professionals

A range of support is available for providers and commissioners who are interested in finding out how personal health budgets can improve care.

The personal health budgets learning network is open to professionals who work in the NHS and local government, and provides further resources, discussions forums and information about the latest news and events.

To find out more about the national programme of work, please contact england.personalhealthbudgets@nhs.net.

Visit the End of Life Care webpages to find out more about NHS England’s work to improve end of life care across the country.