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Personal health budgets

Getting started

If you have a long-term condition or a disability and you are interested in a personal health budget but don't know if it is the right thing for you, talk to your GP or another member of your healthcare team. They can help you decide if a personal health budget is right for you. Even if it is not, you can talk to them about other ways to get the best healthcare and support available to you.

The amount of money a personal health budget contains varies from person to person and will depend on your healthcare needs. Your local NHS should have its own systems for making these decisions. For more information contact your local NHS.

However, you will always be told how much money is available for you before you start planning how to spend your personal health budget.

Making a care plan

At the centre of your personal health budget is your care plan (also known as support plan). Together with your healthcare team, you'll decide on your health and wellbeing needs, the health outcomes you want to achieve, and the amount of money in the budget and how you would like to spend it to best reach your goals. You don’t have to change the healthcare and support that is currently working well for you, but if there’s something that isn’t working, then you can change that.

Talk to your healthcare team if you have any questions about care planning. They will also be able to explain to you what needs to be done to get your care plan approved. You may also get support from local voluntary organisations.

What can I spend my personal health budget on?

You can spend your personal health budget on healthcare and support such as treatments, equipment and personal care in order to meet your personal goals as set out in your care plan. Emergency care and the care you normally get from your GP is separate and will not need to be paid from your budget.

You are not allowed to spend the money on gambling, debt repayment, alcohol, tobacco, or anything illegal.

Read personal stories of people who have used a personal health budget and find out what they thought about it.

What happens if I disagree with the amount I'm offered?

The discussion around your plan should include what to do if you disagree with something, or if something goes wrong. If you're not sure what to do, first speak to your healthcare team, but if you're still not happy you can use the NHS complaints procedure.

What if my request for a personal health budget is turned down?

If your request for a personal health budget is turned down, you should be told why. If you wish to appeal, your local NHS should explain what to do. If you're still not happy you can use the NHS complaints procedure

Page last reviewed: 26/01/2015

Next review due: 26/01/2017

Key points

You should:

Know upfront how much money is available for your healthcare and support

Be enabled to choose the health and wellbeing outcomes you want to achieve, in dialogue with one or more healthcare professionals

Be involved in the design of your care plan

Be able to request a particular model of budget that best suits the amount of choice and control with which you feel comfortable with.

Be able to spend the money in ways and at times that make sense to you, as agreed in your plan

Planning how to use your
personal health budget

Coping with a long-term condition: the care plan

In this video, find out how a care plan helps patients take control of their condition by setting out goals that cater to their individual needs.

Media last reviewed: 27/04/2015

Next review due: 27/04/2017