Skip to content Back to top

Personal health budgets

A personal health budget is an amount of money to support your health and wellbeing needs.

It 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 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 enable people to have more say over how their social care needs are met.

Mark’s story

Mark’s family talk about the difference that a personal health budget has made to his life

Find out more about Mark's story Find out more about Mark's story

Personal health budget

This is for your NHS healthcare and support needs.

Personal budget

This is for your social care and support needs.

Integrated personal budget

This is for both your healthcare and support needs and social care needs.

Direct payment

This is one way of managing these budgets. It’s when you get the money directly to buy the agreed care and support you need rather than your NHS team arranging it for you.

A personal health budget can be managed in three ways, or a combination of these ways:

Notional budget

The NHS funds and arranges your care and support. You find out how much money is available for your assessed needs then, together with your NHS team, you decide on how to spend that money.

Third party budget

An organisation which is legally independent of both you and the NHS holds the budget for you. It pays for and arranges the care and support agreed in your personalised care and support plan.

Organisations could include a care provider registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) or a voluntary organisation.

Direct payment for healthcare

You get the money to buy the care and support that you and your NHS team agree you need.

You or your representative buy and manage services yourself, but you must show what you have spent the money on.

If you don’t want to manage the financial side of the direct payment, you can choose to get help from a direct payment support service.

Personal health budgets give you greater choice and flexibility over how your assessed health and wellbeing needs are met.

If you are interested in the option of having a personal health budget, please discuss this with your local NHS team or the person who carries out your assessment or review.

Not in a group that has a right to a personal health budget, but interested in receiving one? Speak to your local NHS team.

Who can have a personal health budget?

People receiving continuing healthcare (CHC)

CHC is NHS-funded longterm health and personal care provided outside hospital.

  • Adult CHC packages that support people who live in their own home must to be provided by a personal health budget.
  • People who become eligible for CHC at the end of life also have a right to a personal health budget if they are living at home.
  • Families with a Children’s Continuing Care package have a right to a personal health budget but can refuse one if they wish.

Learn more about continuing healthcare

Wheelchair users

Personal wheelchair budgets are available to:

  • People who are referred and meet the eligibility criteria of their local wheelchair service
  • Those 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

Find out more more about about personal wheelchair budgets

People eligible for Section 117 aftercare

A personal health budget is available to:

  • People who are eligible for Section 117 aftercare as a result of being detained under certain sections of the Mental Health Act where their care is wholly or partly funded by the NHS. The offer of a personal health budget should be discussed during planning for discharge from hospital or at the review of an ongoing Section 117 care package.

This does not include detention under section 2 of the act.

If your request for a personal health budget is turned down, you should be told why.

The NHS should explain what to do if you want to appeal the decision

If you’re still not happy, then you can follow the NHS complaints procedure.

How to complain to the NHS.

Find out more about personal health budgets on the NHS website
Launch Recite Me assistive technology