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Personal health budgets

A Personal Health Budget (PHB) is an amount of money to support a person’s identified health and wellbeing needs, which is planned and agreed between the person (or their representative) and the NHS professionals involved in their care.

It is not new money but it is money that would normally have been spent by the NHS on the person’s care, used more flexibly to meet their identified health needs.

The aim of the PHB is to support people with long-term complex health needs to have greater choice, flexibility and control over the healthcare and support that they receive to meet their assessed needs.

Personal Health Budgets have been shown to help people improve their health and wellbeing. They are just one way of providing more personalised support and have been found to be of particular benefit for people with complex needs, helping to reduce time in hospital and maintain independence.

A personal health budget will not be right for everyone and it will not always be the best way to receive support.

How do I know if I’m eligible?

The right to have a personal health budget applies to people who are:

  • adults receiving NHS continuing healthcare (NHS-funded long-term health and personal care provided outside hospital)
  • children receiving NHS continuing healthcare

From 2 December 2019, the right to have a Personal Health Budget was extended to:

  • wheelchair users who are referred and meet the eligibility criteria of their local wheelchair service, plus people who are already registered with the wheelchair service (these people will be eligible for a personal wheelchair budget when they need a new wheelchair)
  • adults with mental health problems who are receiving after-care as a result of being sectioned under the Mental Health Act

How are Personal Health Budgets managed?

Once eligibility has been determined, a care and support plan has been completed and an indicative budget agreed, a Personal Health Budget can be managed in three ways, or a combination of these:

  1. Notional budget

No money changes hands. You find out how much money is available for your assessed needs and decide together with the NHS team how to spend that money. The NHS is then responsible for holding the money and arranging the agreed care and support. You will still have regular reviews and if your needs change your care plan can also change along with the identified budget for care.

  1. Third party budget

An organisation legally independent of both you and the NHS (for example, an independent user trust or a voluntary organisation) holds the money for you, and also pays for and arranges the care and support agreed in your care plan.

  1. Direct payment for healthcare

You get the money to buy the care and support both you and your NHS team agrees you need. You take responsibility for purchasing the agreed care and support which has been agreed and is detailed in your care plan. You must use a dedicated bank account, provide evidence of what you have spent your money on at regular intervals and manage the services that you have bought.

You are not allowed to spend the money on gambling, debt repayment, alcohol, tobacco, or anything illegal. Emergency care, medicines and the care you get from a GP is separate and will not need to be paid for from your budget.

How do I apply for a Personal Health Budget?

If you are eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare or Continuing Care you will be offered a Personal Health Budget when your eligibility is determined or when a review is undertaken.

If you are registered with a NHS Vale of York CCG GP and would like to discuss this further, please contact either:

Vale of York CCG Continuing Health Care Team

Phone: 0300 303 8294


Write to: 1st Floor, Building 2, Amy Johnson Way, Clifton Moor, York, YO30 4XT

Children and young people’s Continuing Care  

Phone: 0300 3038674


Write to: Kingswood House, 2nd Floor, 14 Wetherby Road, Harrogate, HG2 7SA

More information about Personal Wheelchair Budgets can be found here.

Useful Information:

More information about personal health budgets is available by clicking here.

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