Personal health budgets

older person holding a carer's hand

As personal health budgets move from pilot to national roll-out, the NHS Confederation is working with government and partners across the health and social care sector to influence policy and practice on this radical new model of healthcare.

What are personal health budgets?

A personal health budget is an amount of money to support a person’s health and wellbeing needs, planned and agreed between the person and their local NHS team.

Personal health budgets are intended to enable people with long-term conditions and disabilities to have greater choice, flexibility and control over the healthcare and support they receive. They are one way of enabling people to be more involved in discussions and decisions about their care.

Joining up health and social care

If the personal budget systems of the NHS and local authorities can be developed together, it could offer a powerful new way of integrating health and social care at the individual’s level, rather than across a whole population.

By coordinating the service user/patient experience, rather than using joint commissioning or pooled budgets as a starting point, integrated personal budgets could help to focus local efforts on what matters most.

On 4 September, NHS England and partners launched the Integrated Personal Commissioning Programme, a new initiative to blend comprehensive health and social care funding for individuals, and allow them to direct how it is used.

Timetable for change

An independently evaluated pilot programme for personal health budgets concluded at the end of 2012.

Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are required to offer the right to request a personal health budget to anyone eligible for NHS continuing care by April 2014.

By October 2014 this right will be strengthened and these patients will have a right to have a personal health budget. CCGs are also allowed to offer a personal health budget to anyone with a long-term condition who may benefit from the additional flexibility and control.

Evidence shows that the way personal budgets are implemented determines whether patients see significant benefits.

Questions answered in practical new guide

The NHS Confederation, in partnership with Think Local Act Personal (TLAP) has produced a practical new ‘FAQ’ guide to personal health budgets. A wealth of information: your questions on personal health budgets answered is a handy resource for commissioners and providers of NHS-funded care introducing personal budgets.

It also signposts leaders and managers – both clinical and in support roles – to support and guidance from peers and experts on how to make introducing personal health budgets a success.

Looking for more information on personal health budgets?

Check out our series of publications exploring personal health budgets:

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