Personal Health Budgets

Personal Health Budgets

From April 2014, everyone who receives NHS continuing health care funding will be able to request a personal health budget rather than receiving commissioned services. The aim is for individuals to have greater control over planning their care.  If you are interested in a Personal Health Budget and you are eligible for NHS Funded Continuing Healthcare (CHC) please contact the CHC team on 01652 251026.

What are Personal Health Budgets?
A personal health budget is an amount of money to support a person's identified health and wellbeing needs, planned and agreed between the person and their local NHS team. The NHS  vision for personal health budgets is to enable people with long term conditions and disabilities to have greater choice, flexibility and control over the health care and support they receive.

Minister of State for Care Services Norman Lamb announced the national roll out of personal health budgets on 30 November 2012. This follows the three year pilot programme in the NHS, which ended in October 2012, and the publication of an independent evaluation report, led by the University of Kent.

At the centre of the personal health budget is your individual care plan. This plan helps you decide your health and wellbeing goals, together with the local NHS team who support you, and set out how your budget will be spent to enable you to reach them and keep healthy and safe.

Key points:

  • The NHS stands by its promise that it is there for everyone, based on need not ability to pay.
  • The NHS care and support you get should be safe and effective. It should be a positive experience.
  • Personal health budgets should help people who may not always get the best out of the NHS to get a better service, not make things worse.
  • You will not have to get healthcare in this way if you do not want to.
  • You should have as much control over decisions as you want.
  • NHS and social care organisations should work in partnership with you and with each other.
  • If you are not able to have a personal health budget, you can still speak to your local NHS team about how your needs can be met in another way that is more personal to you.

Once your care plan has been agreed, the money in your personal health budget can be managed in a number of different ways:

  1. Notional budget. No money changes hands. You find out how much money is available and talk to your local NHS team about the different ways to spend that money on meeting your needs. They will then arrange the agreed care and support.
  2. Real budget held by a third party. A different organisation or trust holds the money for you and helps you decide what you need. After you have agreed this with your local NHS team, the organisation then buys the care and support you have chosen.
  3. Direct payment for healthcare. You get the cash to buy the care and support you and your local NHS team decide you need. You have to show what you have spent it on, but you, or your representative, buy and manage services yourself. Direct payments for healthcare are not yet available in all parts of England.

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 you wish to have a budget but don't want to manage it yourself, it may be possible for someone else to manage the budget on your behalf. If you care for 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.

You can also manage the care and support you choose in different ways, ranging from doing this yourself through to getting help from another person or organisation to implement what's in your care plan on your behalf.

You can review and update your care plan with your local NHS team when you need to, for example if your health changes or something in your plan isn't working for you. You can also give up your personal health budget if you prefer to.