Continuing healthcare: Personal health budgets

On this page you can learn about:

  • What a personal health budget is
  • How a personal health budget is calculated
  • How a personal health budget is managed
  • Things that the personal health budget can’t be used for
  • How often the personal health budget is reviewed
  • What happens if you think your personal health budget isn’t right

What is a Personal Health Budget?

A personal health budget is the amount of money needed to pay for your identified healthcare and wellbeing needs, which is planned and agreed between you, and the Continuing Healthcare Team.

Personal health budgets are a way of giving you more choice and control. With a personal health budget you can.

  • decide on the health and wellbeing goals or outcomes that matter to you the most, in agreement with your care coordinator
  • know how much money you have to meet your identified needs
  • create your own care plan
  • choose how your personal health budget is held and managed. You can also ask for a direct payment
  • spend the money in ways and at times that make sense to you, as agreed with your care coordinator and set out in your care plan

How is my personal health budget calculated?

Your personal health budget is based on what care you need. Each budget is individual and worked out between you and your care coordinator, once your assessment has been completed. You will be given an indicative, or estimated, budget to start with. The indicative budget is our first estimate of the amount of money that might be required to meet your needs.

Your care plan sets out how your personal health budget will be spent to meet your needs. You can complete your care plan yourself, with the support of family and friends, or with your care coordinator.  Clinicians and others involved in your care should also be closely involved in the planning process.  

Your care plan will be approved if it is financially and clinically appropriate. This means that the Continuing Healthcare Team agrees that the plan will meet your needs and identified goals or outcomes, and does so within reasonable financial limits. Once your care plan is agreed and approved, your personal health budget amount is finalised. Your final personal budget might be different from the original estimate, depending on what specific care you have chosen and any differences in cost.

How is my personal health budget managed?

Personal health budgets can be given in three different ways, or in a combination of these ways:

  • A notional budget held by the Integrated Care Board (ICB)
  • A budget managed by another organisation on your behalf
  • A payment to you (a ‘direct payment’)

You can find out more about having a direct payment.

What can’t my personal health budget be used for?

By law, personal health budgets can’t be used for:

  • Something that is illegal
  • gambling, alcohol, or tobacco
  • Emergency or acute services
  • Most primary care services (including visits and assessments by GPs)
  • Debt repayment

The Continuing Healthcare Team is responsible for the proper use of public, or taxpayers, money. The Team will not agree your plan if it is likely to harm somebody, if the package of care or the cost of it is disproportionate to the level of your needs, or if the plan will not meet your needs.

How often will my personal health budget be reviewed?

Your personal health budget amount is looked at as part of any review of your needs or care plan. A review happens in the first three months of your care plan being in place, and every year after that. If your needs change, it is likely that your personal health budget amount will also change. If you feel your personal health budget no longer meets your needs, please tell your care coordinator. 

What can I do if I think my personal health budget isn’t right?

If you feel the personal health budget doesn’t meet your needs, please contact your care coordinator. If your personal health budget is reviewed and you are still unhappy with it, please see our Contact Us page for further information on how to appeal your care plan and/ or budget.  

For further information on personal health budgets, please see our overarching Continuing Health Care Policy and our Operational Policy for Personal Health Budgets in Continuing Healthcare. You can also visit the NHS – What is a personal health budget.

Page last updated: 06 Oct 2023