Personal Health Budgets

This page tells you about Personal Health Budgets. You may also find the information you need on the Continuing Healthcare page.

What is a personal health budget (PHB)?

A personal health budget is an amount of money to support your health and wellbeing needs, which is planned and agreed upon between you (or someone who represents you) and your local NHS team. It is not new money, but it may mean spending money differently to get the necessary care.

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 similarly to personal budgets, which allow people to manage and pay for their social care needs.

NHS England has produced a short video entitled what are personal health budgets? Describing what they are and how they are helping people get care and support that is right for them.

Who can have a personal health budget?

The right to have a personal health budget applies to people who are:

  • Adults receiving NHS continuing healthcare (NHS-funded long-term health and personal care provided outside hospital)
  • Children receiving NHS continuing care
  • People who are referred and meet the eligibility criteria of their local wheelchair service and people who are already registered with the wheelchair service when they need a new wheelchair or specialist buggy, either because of a change in clinical needs or the condition of the current chair. These people will be eligible for a personal wheelchair budget.
  • People with mental health problems who are eligible for section 117 after-care as a result of being detained under certain sections of the Mental Health Act (this does not include detention under section 2 of the Act).

If you are not in a group with a right to a personal health budget but are interested in receiving one, don't hesitate to contact us; we will be happy to advise further.

How does a personal health budget work?

NHS Continuing Healthcare service for Adults

When NHS Continuing Healthcare funding has been agreed upon, you will receive a letter confirming this. If you are interested in arranging a personal health budget (PHB), please contact the team and they will arrange for a PHB Case Coordinator to contact you.

The case coordinator will determine the amount of money available based on your health and wellbeing needs. Then, if you want to go ahead, you and the PHB Case Coordinator will develop a personalised care and support plan which meets your needs and NHS funding rules. You can, if you choose, also be supported throughout this planning process by an Independent Living Advisor from Surrey Independent Living Charity.

As soon as your Health Support Plan has been approved, your Personal Health Budget will need to be activated. This can be organised in several different ways:

  1. Notional personal health budget – No money changes hands. Instead, you find out how much money is available for your assessed needs, and with your NHS team, you decide how to spend that money. They will then arrange the agreed care and support for you.
  2. Third-party personal health budget – An organisation legally independent of you and the NHS (for example, an independent user trust or a voluntary organisation) holds the money for you and also pays for and arranges the care and support agreed in your care plan. This offer is currently under development.
  3. Direct payment – 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. If you would like help managing your direct payment, you can ask for a Supported Managed Account (SMA).
    • An SMA is where a provider will manage all the money for you, but you will remain the legal employer of any personal assistants you hire
    • The provider will monitor your account and check your receipts, invoices and bank statements. You will still have control over how the budget is used
    • The provider will prepare a statement of income and expenditure at your request so that you can see how much money is available in your Personal Health Budget and how it is being spent

Your PHB Case Coordinator is responsible for ensuring the help and support you receive meets your needs. As your needs change, so might your Personal Health Budget, to ensure it is giving you the most appropriate support.