The NHS is working on a lot of new ideas to make it easier to get the right NHS care; having a personal health budget is one of those ideas.

A personal health budget is a sum of money from the NHS which you have agreed with your healthcare manager to spend on your health needs. Your personal health budget can be managed by you, your representative or a third party. They put the control is your hands and can be used in a range of ways to meet your health needs, which you will agree with your healthcare manager.

Examples of what you can spend your personal health budget on include:

  • A carer chosen by you who may come from a care agency
  • A personal assistant chosen by you and employed directly by you
  • Increasing the options for you and your informal carer in having a respite break

This page aims to give you more information on personal health budgets. Personal health budgets will not be the answer for everyone, but they may be a good way for some people to get the health care services that are right for them.

What are personal health budgets?

A personal health budget is an amount of money to support your health and wellbeing needs, which is planned and agreed between you (or someone who represents you), and your local NHS team. It is not new money, but it may mean spending money differently so that you can get the care that you need.

A personal health budget allows you to manage your healthcare and support such as treatments, equipment and personal care, in a way that suits you.

The right to have a personal health budget only applies to adults receiving NHS continuing healthcare (NHS-funded long-term health and personal care provided outside hospital) and children in receipt of continuing care. 

At the centre of your personal health budget is your care plan. This plan helps you decide your health and wellbeing goals, together with the local NHS team who support you, and set out how your budget will be spent to enable you to reach them and keep healthy and safe.

If you have a personal health budget, you will be able to use it for a range of things to help you meet your 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 will be an assessment of your care needs to establish what support you will need and how this can be arranged.

What do I do if I want a personal health budget?

Talk to your local NHS team who help you most often with your care - this might be a care manager, or your GP - and they will discuss personal health budgets with you. Even if a personal health budget is not right for you, you can talk to them about other ways to make sure that you get the healthcare and support that works best for you.

For more information about personal health budgets, please: