Personal health budgets

We are offering people eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare their own personal health budgets to manage. We are also exploring how personal health budgets can be made available to people with a range of long term conditions from 2015.

You can find out more about personal health budgets (PHBs) and what they may mean for you below, including details of what they are, who is eligible for one and about our policy relating to PHBs. 

You can also find an easy-read guide to Personal Health Budgets on the NHS website by clicking here.

What is a personal health budget?

A personal health budget is an amount of money that can be given directly to a person receiving certain NHS care to allow them to pay for their help and support. The allocation of this budget is agreed between the person, their carers and their local NHS team. The budget is based upon a detailed care and support plan which identifies the health and wellbeing needs and outcomes of the individual.

Who can have one?

Since 1 October 2014 people who are eligible for NHS continuing health care (including children and young people eligible for NHS continuing care) have had the right to have a personal health budget.

If you are eligible for continuing health care or your child is eligible for continuing care and you would like to consider a personal health budget, then you can work together with your lead health professional, such as a community nurse, to develop a support plan. The support plan, the proposed amount of money and how the budget will be managed then has to be agreed by us as your clinical commissioning group (CCG). We manage personal health budgets for the local area.

If your child receives continuing care they will have an education, health and care plan - known as an EHC plan – or will be transferring to one very soon. For children, personal health budgets can contribute to some or all of the social, health or educational elements of this plan. In Sefton there is a SEND ‘local offer’ and you can find out more about this on the Sefton Council website.

If you are someone who would like a personal health budget for yourself or someone you care for, talk to the local NHS worker who helps you most often with organising care for you or your child – this might be a care manager, a nurse or social worker. They will discuss personal health budgets with you.

We can now also offer personal health budgets to other groups of people who could benefit from them. We are currently exploring how personal health budgets can be made available to people with a range of long term conditions.

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 and this makes them feel more involved and more positive.

A personal health budget enables you to work with a healthcare professional to prioritise the care needs that are important to you and to create a care plan that reflects your own personal health and social goals. Some examples of how a personal health budget may be used include:

  • Having a personal assistant to help you with your daily life, or getting out and about
  • Paying a carer to live in your home to help you
  • Special equipment or changes to your home that help you do everyday tasks
  • Supporting you to undertake activities that help you to be part of a community, such as taking an art class or joining a gym

How can a personal health budget be organised?

There are six basic steps to a personal health budget:

1. Get 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. This might be a care manager, nurse or a social worker, who can tell you how personal health budgets work for people eligible for continuing healthcare funding.

2. Understand your health and wellbeing needs
If you are able to access a personal health budget, a care manager or nurse will 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. This will include understanding your health and wellbeing needs. The lead health professional will talk this through with you.

3. Work out the amount of money that may be available
Our CCG NHS funded healthcare team nurse assessors, in conjunction with the lead professional in the community, 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. Make a personalised care and support plan
If you choose to have a personal health budget you will need to have a personalised support plan. This is developed by you and the lead professional within the community and our CCG NHS funded healthcare team nurse assessor. Together you will design a plan that meets your needs and meets NHS funding rules. You will be supported throughout this planning process by a personal health budget adviser from an independent organisation. Your nurse assessor can give you details of the local organisations who can help you with this.

5. Organise care and support
As soon as your 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 our CCG NHS funded healthcare team nurse assessor will buy the services you need directly from the service provider (for example, a care agency)
  • 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 support plan)
  • Direct payment – this means we pass on the money directly to you with support of an independent organisation, to organise your care (as described in your support plan)

You can choose one or a combination of the three options above.

Support is available to help you consider these options. If you choose to take a direct payment and therefore become an employer, you may want support with employment responsibilities (such as setting up banks accounts and payroll administration). Please see below for the contact details of some local organisations who can provide this support.

6. Make sure the money is working for you
Your nurse assessor 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 continuing health care and continuing care 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 should contact your lead health professional.

We have also approved a local policy that sets out the principles of how it will implement the delivery of personal health budgets across Sefton. You will find a copy in our policies library.

You can also contact the following local voluntary sector organisations who provide information and support to people with personal health budgets:

Sefton Carers Centre

27 – 37 South Road, Waterloo. Liverpool. L22 5RF 

Tel: 0151 288 6060

Sefton CVS

3rd floor, Suite 3b, North Entrance, Burlington House, Crosby Road North, Waterloo. Liverpool. L22 0LG

Tel: 0151 920 0726

More information is also available on the NHS England Website