Personal Health Budgets are being introduced by the NHS to help people manage their care in a way that suits them. They have been piloted in a number of places across England and, from April 2014, anyone receiving NHS continuing healthcare will have a right to ask for a Personal Health Budget.
What is a Personal Health Budget?
A Personal Health Budget is an amount of money to support your identified health and wellbeing needs, planned and agreed between you and your local NHS team. The aim is to give people with long-term conditions and disabilities greater choice and control over the healthcare and support they receive.
Personal Health Budgets work in a similar way to the Personal Budgets that many people are already using to manage and pay for their social care.
Together with your NHS team (such as a GP) 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. You can use a personal health budget to pay for a wide range of items and services, including therapies, personal care and equipment. This will allow you more choice and control over the health services and care you receive.
You don’t have to change any healthcare or support that is working well for you just because you get a personal health budget, but if something isn’t working, you can change it.
Who can have a Personal Health Budget?
The first group to be able to ask for a Personal Health Budget, from April 2014, will be people getting NHS Continuing Healthcare, which is NHS-funded long-term health and personal care provided outside hospital.
Local NHS organisations will be free to offer Personal Health Budgets to other people if they think an individual will benefit. Current plans include the option of a Direct Payment for healthcare across England from autumn 2013. It is the government’s long-term aim, to introduce a right to a Personal Health Budget for people who would benefit from it.
Can I have a personal health budget as well as a personal budget for social care and support?
Yes. If you already have a personal budget for care and support from social services and your NHS team agrees, you can also have a personal health budget and ask for both to be combined.
Do I have to have a Personal Health Budget?
No. If having a Personal Health Budget does not work for you, your local NHS will provide the care you need as it has always done.
What is the difference between a Personal Health Budget, a Personal Budget, an Individual Budget and a Direct Payment?
A Personal Health Budget is for your NHS healthcare and support needs.
A Personal Budget is for your social care and support needs.
An Individual Budget includes your social care and support needs plus other funding, such as independent living.
A Direct Payment is one way of managing these budgets, where you get the cash to buy the agreed care and support you need.