What is a personal health budget
A personal health budget is an amount of money to support your health and wellbeing needs, which is planned and agreed between you (or someone who represents you), and your local NHS team. It is not new money, but it may mean spending money differently so that you can get the care that you need.
A personal health budget allows you to manage your healthcare and support such as treatments, equipment and personal care, in a way that suits you. It works in a similar way to personal budgets, which allow people to manage and pay for their social care needs.
If you are able to have a personal health budget, then together with your NHS team, you will develop a care plan. The plan sets out your personal health and wellbeing needs, the health outcomes you want to achieve, the amount of money in the budget and how you are going to spend it.
A care co-ordinator, who will be your first point of contact in case you have any concerns, should be identified in the planning process.
A personal health budget will not be right for everyone and it won't always be the best way to receive support. You are not allowed to spend the money on gambling, debt repayment, alcohol, tobacco, or anything illegal. Emergency care, medication and the care you get from your GP is separate and will not need to be paid from your budget.
Monitoring and review
Once you have a personal health budget, your NHS team will periodically review your care plan with you. You can also ask your NHS team to review and update your plan because your health needs have changed or you feel the current plan isn't working for you.
You can give up your personal health budget at any point if you wish to, you will still be able to receive care and support in another way.
Managing your personal health budget
A personal health budget can be managed in three ways or a combination of those.
- Notional budget. No money changes hands. You find out how much money is available for your assessed needs and together with your NHS team you decide on how to spend that money. They will then arrange the agreed care and support.
- Third party budget. An organisation legally independent of both you and the NHS (for example, an independent user trust or a voluntary organisation) holds the money for you, pays for and arranges the care and support agreed in your care plan.
- Direct payment for healthcare. You get the money to buy the care and support you and your NHS team agree you need. You must show what you have spent it on, but you, or your representative, buy and manage services yourself.