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).
Currently only adults eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare and children in receipt of continuing care have the right to have a personal health budget. CCGs have the option to offer budgets to other people who could benefit on a voluntary basis.
At the centre of a personal health budget is the care and support plan. This plan helps people to identify their health and wellbeing goals, together with their local NHS team, and set out how the budget will be spent to enable them to reach their goals and keep healthy and safe.
Individuals will need a separate bank account to receive a personal health budget via a direct payment. This account must only be used for purchasing care. However, it can also be used for receiving and managing a social care budget or Independent Living Fund payments.
If someone wishes to have a budget but doesn’t want to manage it themselves, it may be possible for someone else to manage the budget on your behalf. For the carer of someone who does not have capacity to manage a personal health budget themselves, the same arrangement may also be possible. Every effort must be made to ask the person about their wishes and to keep their best interests in mind.
People can also manage the care and support they choose in different ways, ranging from doing it themselves through to getting help from another person or organisation to implement what’s in the care plan on their behalf.
Care plans should be regularly reviewed and updated when necessary, for example if health needs changes or something in the plan isn’t working. People can also give up their personal health budget if they do not want their care managed in this way.
If you are someone who would like a personal health budget for yourself or someone you care for, talk to your local NHS team who help you most often with your care – this might be a care manager, or your GP – and they will discuss personal health budgets with you.