Your health & local services

Personal health budgets

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

At the centre of the personal health budget is a care and support plan. This sets out the agreed health and wellbeing outcomes that the patient wants to achieve and how the budget will be spent to help the individual.

More choice and control

The aim of a personal health budget is to give individuals more choice and control over the money spent on meeting their health and wellbeing needs.

PHBs support the vision of a more personalised, patient-focused NHS.  NHS England's website has more information and advice about the new scheme

Who can have a personal health budget?

From 2014, those patients eligible for NHS continuing health care (CHC) (including children and young people) had the right to request a personal health budget. 

From 1 April 2015, those with a long-term condition (including mental health conditions) have also had the right to request a personal health budget. 

Children and young people

For children and young people (birth to 25) with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), the personal health budget is likely to form part of their Personal Budget for their Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan.

We aim to support every patient and, whilst we are not always able to provide them with a direct payment, we can work with them to identify ways to create a personalised care plan, putting them at the heart of their own healthcare decision making.

What can a PHB be spent on?

Everyone with a personal health budget can get support to think though how they would like to use their budget to meet their health and wellbeing needs.

It is the responsibility of local NHS teams to advise people, and recommend a range of organisations who can offer local support. This is often described as brokerage.

A personal health budget can be spent on any care or services that are set out in the care and support plan that has been put together with the NHS team or voluntary organisation working with the person - and this needs to be agreed by the CCG (clinical commissioning group).

What is doesn't cover

There are things that it would not be right for the Government to fund such as alcohol, tobacco, gambling or debt repayment, or anything that is illegal.

A personal health budget cannot be used to buy emergency care - for example if someone in receipt of a personal health budget had an accident, they would go to A&E like everyone else - they would not use their personal health budget to arrange for it to be x-rayed, set or plastered.

A personal health budget also cannot buy primary care services such as seeing a GP or dental treatment. Other services recommended by a GP, like physiotherapy, could be included.

What is changing?

The changes mean that all patients in the above categories will be able to request a personal health budget.  We aim to support as many patients as possible to create a PHB, but South Gloucestershire CCG has limited resources and cannot guarantee that all requests will be successful.

The CCG is undertaking a detailed analysis to understand how it can support patients to take greater control of their own care and in the future hopes to increase the numbers of patients controlling their own personal health budgets.

Personal Health Budgets consultation

Co-production and changing the conversation

One of the central aims of personal health budgets is to enable people to play an active role in managing their health. This can also be described as co-production - working together with health professionals as an equal partner, deciding together how best to achieve goals.

This may lead to people using their budgets in innovative ways rather than relying on services that the NHS would normally provide.

In order to enable people to play an active role in managing their health this requires a change in conversation.

Personal health budgets see people:

  • as “whole” people not only as one “broken part”
  • in their whole life context - as part of a family and community; and
  • as unique individuals with strengths as well as weaknesses.

I am interested in a PHB – what should I do?

The first step is to talk to your NHS professional about your request. Further information can be found on the NHS Choices website.

Working with the council

The CCG works together with the council to use the same support providers and way of paying the money.

This means that people who have a personal budget from both the council and CCG, or who move from the council to CCG funding, will have a better experience.

Please note that we are using the same approach as the council, but NHS care, unlike social care, is not means tested.

Find out more about local support for people with PHB on the council website

Cover for Personal Health Budgets Policy

Personal Health Budgets Policy

This policy outlines the principles for achieving the implementation of personal health budgets by balancing choice, risk, rights and responsibilities.