Personal health budgets

Information for people, families and carers

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

A personal health budget uses NHS funding to create an individually agreed personalised care and support plan that offers people of all ages greater choice and flexibility over how their assessed health and wellbeing needs are met.

The personalised care and support planning conversation identifies the care, support and services the personal health budget will be spent on. This can include a range of things to give people access to care, support and services that are holistic, innovative and build on their strengths.

Personal health budgets are flexible. They can be used to meet a variety of needs:

  • for ongoing care and support to meet people’s assessed health and wellbeing needs, eg NHS Continuing Healthcare, children and young people’s continuing care, aftercare services under section 117 of the Mental Health Act
  • for one-off budgets to support people to achieve specific goals or outcomes enabling supported self-management eg hospital discharge, mental health recovery
  • to support children and young people with education, health and care plans aligned to expectations in the SEND Code of Practice.

And they can be:

  • pooled to support several individuals to come together to achieve a common health and wellbeing goal, eg a group health weight management programme for people with a learning disability and/or autism
  • integrated with social care and/or education personal budgets
  • used to target and address wider system priorities such as identified health inequalities.

Personal health budgets are part 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 the Personalised Care pages.

What the person with a personal health budget can expect

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.

**There may be flexibility when an indicative budget is discussed as part of a one-off budget.

Who can have a personal health budget?

The following groups have a legal right to have a personal health budget – adults in receipt of NHS Continuing Healthcare, children and young people eligible for continuing care, people eligible for aftercare services under section 117 of the Mental Health Act and people eligible for an NHS wheelchair.

The rollout of PHBs is not confined to these ‘right to have’ groups. Ensuring more people can benefit from personalised care is one of the key practical changes set out in the NHS Long Term Plan, which sets the ambition to increase the uptake of PHBs to 200,000 people by 2023/24.

For information about personal health budgets in each local area, please refer to the local integrated care board (ICB’s) website. All ICBs are required to inform eligible people about their right to a personal health budget.

One-off personal health budgets to support people leaving hospital

One-off personal health budgets are available to provide people with the support they need to leave hospital safely. They enable people to access personalised care and support when their needs cannot be met through existing commissioned services or unpaid care. The personal health budget should enable earlier discharge by at least two days and be agreed between patient and or carer and the person responsible for the discharge. Further information can be found within this guidance note. A guidance pack and case studies are also available on the Personalised Care Collaborative Network (login required).

Implementing personal health budgets and need more information?

NHS England provides an ongoing programme of support for integrated care systems and other health and care professionals to support the provision of personal health budgets.

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