Personal health budgets
More choice for NHS care
A personal health budget is similar to a social care personal budget. It is an amount of money set aside by the NHS (rather than your Local Authority) to help you meet your health care needs that have been agreed with the NHS. You can have a personal health budget and a personal budget from social services if both your Local Authority and the NHS agree you need them. Personal health budgets apply to England only. They were piloted in England from March 2012 and from April 2014 everyone who qualifies for NHS continuing healthcare is entitled to ask for a personal health budget. Other people may also be offered these budgets where their local Clinical Commissioning Group think they will benefit from the additional flexibility.
Personal health budgets are not taxable and do not affect any benefits you may be receiving.
You can choose how to use your personal health budget. You can ask the NHS to arrange services on your behalf or you can have another organisation hold and spend the money on your behalf.
A direct payment means that you receive the cash payment to buy the care and support you need for yourself. This is similar to direct payments from social services.
Since October 2014, the Government says adults receiving NHS continuing health care, and children in receipt of continuing care, can ask for a personal health budget. You can find out more about NHS continuing health care assessments on the NHS website.
Local NHS organisations are able to offer personal budgets to other people if they think the individual will benefit. You should check with your local NHS organisation if you do not receive NHS continuing health care.
You will be able to choose to receive your personal health budget as a direct payment. This means you will be given the cash to buy your own support and services as long as it is agreed in your initial assessment and care plan. One of the ways you may choose to spend this money is by employing a personal assistant to help you with your needs. By doing this, you will become responsible for paying their wages and you will have to make sure you meet any employment law or tax rules for employing people. The rest of this site will help you understand these new responsibilities. Use the menu on the right to find out more.
You can also choose to have the NHS arrange care on your behalf using your budget or the money can be held by a third party organisation or trust who will buy the care and support you need. You can find out more about these options on the NHS website.