Personal health budgets in Continuing Healthcare

You may have heard about personal health budgets, and this page aims to give you more information and what they are and how you may be able to access one.

What is a personal health budget?

A personal health budget is an amount of money that is given directly to a person receiving NHS care to pay for their help and support. It is part of a care plan that is agreed between the person, their carers and their local NHS team.

Who can have a personal health budget?

In the near future, anyone who could benefit from a personal health budget may be able to have one.

In addition, if you are registered to a GP in West Sussex and are eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC) you can ask for a personal health budget.

How will it help me?

We believe everything we do should focus on people’s individual health and wellbeing needs. That’s why wherever possible we are trying to “personalise” the things we do.

Many people have said that by using a personal health budget, they have more flexibility, choice and control over how money gets spent on their care and support makes them feel more involved and more positive.

How can personal health budgets be organised?

There are six basic steps to a personal health budget:

1. Getting clear information

Start by talking to the NHS team who currently look after you to find out whether you would be able to access a personal health budget. If you have been referred to the West Sussex Continuing Healthcare team, they can tell you how personal health budgets work for people eligible for Continuing Healthcare funding.

2. Understanding your health and wellbeing needs

Your health and wellbeing needs will be assessed by your multi-disciplinary team (which may include a community nurse, social worker, and other health professionals). The team, supported by a Continuing Healthcare nurse, will process your application for Continuing Healthcare funding and discuss with you how the personal health budget may work. An important part of setting a personal health budget is agreeing how the care you receive will benefit your health - your team will talk this through with you.

3. Working out the amount of money that may be available

As soon as Continuing Healthcare funding is confirmed, your nurse can work out the amount that is available. The amount of money will be based on your health and wellbeing needs and what a conventional package of care would look like. Have a chat with your nurse if you have any concerns.

4. Making a personalised care and support plan

If you choose to have a personal health budget you will need to have a personalised care and support plan (sometime called a Health Support Plan). This is developed by you and your Continuing Healthcare nurse - together you will design a plan that meets your needs and meets NHS funding rules. You can be supported throughout this planning process by a personal health budget advisor from Independent Lives.

5. Organising care and support

As soon as your Health Support Plan has been approved, your personal health budget will need to be “activated” – this can be organised in a number of different ways;

  • Notional personal health budget – this means the Continuing Healthcare team will buy the services you need directly from the service provider (e.g. a care agency, or if you are in permanent residential accommodation)
  • 3rd Party personal health budget – this means we pass on the money to someone you know, who then organises your care for you (as described in your Health Support Plan)
  • Direct payment – this means we pass on the money directly to you, and you can organises your care (as described in your Health Support Plan)

You can also chose a combination of the three options above.

6. Making sure the money is working for you

Your Continuing Healthcare nurse is responsible for making sure the help and support you are receiving is meeting your needs. As your needs change, so might your personal health budget to make sure it is giving you the most appropriate support. Eligibility for CHC funding is also reviewed regularly.

Where can I find out more information?

If you want to know more or you have any questions about personal health budgets, you can call and speak to a member of the Continuing Healthcare team on 01903 708609.

Independent Lives work closely with the NHS to help people with their personal health budgets. You can also call them on 08456 0123 99

Or find out more at the personal health budgets website.

Video introduction to personal health budgets (PHB) in Continuing Care