Personal Health Budgets​


What is a Personal Health Budget?


A personal health budget is an amount of money that is spent on meeting the healthcare and wellbeing needs of people, generally those with a long term illness or disability. The NHS wants to make it easier for people and for them to get the NHS care that best suits them. Having a personal health budget is one way we way we think we can achieve this.

If you have a personal health budget, you will be able to use it for a range of things to help you meet your health and wellbeing goals, for example therapies, personal care and equipment. You will not be able to pay for emergency care and care you normally get from a family doctor. You are also not allowed to spend the money on gambling, debt repayment, alcohol or tobacco, or anything unlawful. There is more information in the Understanding Personal Health Budgets document at the bottom of the page. 
A personal health budget (PHB) can take three forms:

Notional budget - No money changes hands. You find out how much money is available and talk to your doctor or care manager about the different ways to spend that money on meeting your needs. They will then arrange the agreed care.

Real budget held by a third party - A different organisation or trust holds the money for you, helps you decide what you need and then buys the services you have chosen.

Direct payment - You get the cash to buy the services you and your doctor or care manager decide you need. You have to show what you have spent it on, but you buy and manage services yourself. A personal health budget is not the same as a direct payment.


Can I apply for a Personal Health Budget in Southwark?


NHS Southwark Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) offers personal health budgets to children and adults receiving NHS Continuing Healthcare and in mental health services.


People receiving NHS Continuing Healthcare have a right to have a personal health budget. Personal health budgets in NHS Continuing Healthcare are based on comprehensive support plans developed in partnership between patients and their families and the professionals who know them best. Patients have a right to choose whether to receive their personal health budget as a direct payment, a third party managed arrangement or through a notional budget held by the CCG. This choice offers patients the flexibility to allow patients to spend the money for their care in ways that make sense to them.


In mental health the CCG, together with the council, offers integrated health and social care personal budget to people living with mental illness in the community. Budgets are allocated using an integrated resource allocation system that is  based on a comprehensive assessment of the person's needs focussed on maximising recovery and support. The CCG is also running a pilot in partnership with Look Ahead to provide integrated personal health budgets to support mental health service users to take their medication by providing flexible support to build confidence through a person centred re-ablement approach.