What are personal health budgets (PHBs)?

Information for people, families and carers

Detailed information is available on the NHS website for people, family members or carers wanting to find out more about personal health budgets and eligibility.

Personal health budgets are a way of personalising care, based around what matters to people and their individual strengths and needs. They are one component of the NHS’s comprehensive model of personalised care which will, as part of the NHS Long Term Plan, transform 2.5 million lives by 2023/24. To learn more please visit Personalised Care pages.

A personal health budget is an amount of money to support the identified healthcare and wellbeing needs of an individual, which is planned and agreed between the individual, or their representative, and the local clinical commissioning group (CCG). It isn’t new money, but a different way of spending health funding to meet the needs of an individual.

Personal health budgets are one way to give people with long term health conditions and disabilities more choice and control over the money spent on meeting their health and wellbeing needs.

A personal health budget may be used for a range of things to meet agreed health and wellbeing outcomes. This can include therapies, personal care and equipment. There are some restrictions in how the budget can be spent.

Personalised care and support planning is essential to making personal health budgets work well. A personalised care and support plan helps people to identify their health and wellbeing goals, together with their local NHS team, and sets out how the budget will be spent to enable them to reach their goals and keep healthy and safe.

The person with a personal health budget (or their representative) should:

  1. Be central in developing their personalised care and support plan and agree who is involved
  2. Be able to agree the health and wellbeing outcomes* they want to achieve, together with relevant health, education and social care professionals
  3. Get an upfront indication of how much money they have available for healthcare and support
  4. Have enough money in the budget to meet the health and wellbeing needs and outcomes* agreed in the personalised care and support plan
  5. Have the option to manage the money as a direct payment, a notional budget, a third party budget or a mix of these approaches
  6. Be able to use the money to meet their outcomes in ways and at times that make sense to them, as agreed in their personalised care and support plan.

*And learning outcomes for children and young people with education, health and care plans.

Who can have a personal health budget?

Adults eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare and children in receipt of continuing care have had a right to have a personal health budget since October 2014 and they will become the default option for delivering care to those people eligible from 1 April 2019.

Since April 2016, there has been an expectation that personal health budgets will become available for more groups of people, including people with a learning disability or autism or both. The Department of Health and Social Care have announced that the legal right to a personal health budget will be extended to people who access wheelchair services whose posture and mobility needs impact their wider health and social care needs and to those eligible for section 117 aftercare services.

For information about personal health budgets in your area, please refer to your local clinical commissioning group’s (CCG) website.

In order to support all areas to be able to introduce personal health budgets successfully, NHS England is running an ongoing programme of support for all CCGs, as well as other relevant groups of health and social care professionals, and professionals working in the voluntary and community sector.

Implementing personal health budgets and need more information?

If you work within the NHS, a local authority or a voluntary sector partner, you can sign up to the Personalised Care Collaborative Network to access a range of resources, share learning and discuss issues with colleagues across the country.

For more information or access to the new network, please contact the national Personal Health Budgets team by emailing england.personalhealthbudgets@nhs.net.