What is a personal health budget?

A personal health budget is an amount of money that is spent on meeting the healthcare and wellbeing needs of people, generally those with a long-term illness or disability.

The aim of a personal health budget is to give people more choice and control over the money spent on meeting their healthcare needs. This means that the individual selects treatments and services that meet their needs in a way that is most appropriate for them.

The Department of Health believes this approach will increase people’s satisfaction with the care they receive, while helping to improve their health. Personal health budgets are one way of helping people to be more involved in discussions and decisions about their care.

Personal health budgets in continuing healthcare

Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust offers personal health budgets to people in receipt of NHS Continuing Healthcare.

NHS continuing healthcare is the name given to a package of care that is arranged and funded solely by the NHS for individuals who are not in hospital who have complex ongoing healthcare needs that have arisen as a result of a disability, accident or illness.

NHS Continuing Healthcare can be provided in a range of settings, including nursing homes, or in a person’s home.

Eligibility for continuing healthcare is determined following an in-depth assessment which looks at all aspects of someone’s health and care needs. To be eligible for 100% NHS continuing healthcare funding, the individual’s primary need must be a health need.

Key points about personal health budgets

NHS values still hold – no one will pay their own money to get the services they need or be denied essential treatment as a result of having a personal health budget.

Having a personal health budget does not entitle someone to more services, more expensive services, or preferential access to NHS services.

Services should be safe and effective. Using them should be a positive experience.

Personal health budgets should help people get a service from the NHS that best suits them.

The individual should have as much control over decisions as is appropriate. Support is available for people to enable them to make choices and decisions regarding their health and wellbeing.

No one will have to get their services through a personal health budget if they do not want to.

Several people with direct experience of using personal health budgets from continuing care have shared their story. These stories are available to view via the links below.  They describe what the personal health budget process is like, how people have chosen to spend the money and the impact that having a personal health budget has had on their lives or the lives of the people they care for.

For more information on personal health budgets in Oxfordshire, please contact the continuing healthcare team on telephone 01865 904519.

Further Information

Useful written information:

Personal Health Budgets

Personal health budgets – What you need to know

Personal Health Budgets films:

An introduction to personal health budgets

Alan and May’s story

Alan has dementia and lives at home with his wife May. May manages the personal health budget on Alan’s behalf and uses it purchase care from an agency and a small team of personal assistants.

Karen’s story

Karen has a complex medical condition which greatly affects all aspects of her life. She has a PHB and a direct payment managed by a third party provider. Through her PHB she employs a small team of personal assistants to provide her care.

Katy and Tim’s story

Katy has MS and lives at home with her husband Tim. She uses her PHB to purchase care from a small team of personal assistants. Tim manages the direct payment on Katy’s behalf and uses a payroll company to support employment of the personal assistant team

Matt’s story

Matt has muscular dystrophy and uses his personal health budget to purchase care from a team of personal assistants and a care agency. The personal health budget has greatly increased his independence, and allows him to be more flexible in who provides his care and support, particularly if he decides to go on holidays.

This website provides information and news about the Department of Health’s personal health budgets policy being rolled out nationally in the NHS: https://www.england.nhs.uk/personal-health-budgets/


Page last reviewed: 15 January, 2018