Department of Health and Social Care
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£1.5m available for people to spend on own care

£1.5 million has been identified to support the potential roll-out of personal health budgets to help individuals choose the most appropriate care for them, Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb announced yesterday.

Personal health budgets give patients real control and choice, by ensuring that care is tailored to meet their health and care needs.
A pilot programme involving over 60 PCTs is currently underway across the country to understand how these budgets can benefit those who need them most, what they could be spent on and how best they should be implemented.

The evaluation of the pilots is due in the autumn. In order to be ready as soon as the findings are known, the Department of Health has identified £1.5m to be made available to support the first stage of a potential roll-out.

Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb said:

“We want to ensure more care is tailored around people’s individual needs and preferences. Giving those with complex health needs the control of how to spend money on their care gives them and their doctors the flexibility to try innovative new approaches to achieve better health outcomes.

“Subject to the results of the current pilot programme, our aim is to introduce a right to a personal health budget for people who would benefit from them most – the scale and pace of this will be informed by the independent evaluation.

“We want to be on the front foot as the results become known – that is why we’ve identified £1.5m to support the NHS in the first stage of the roll out as it starts to implement personal health budgets.”

A personal health budget is not new money, but an amount of NHS money that is spent on meeting a person’s health and wellbeing needs. It allows people to plan how to use this money in ways that work best for them.

People whose complex care needs are paid for by the NHS through the NHS Continuing Healthcare scheme, or those with a range of long-term conditions such as stroke, diabetes, neurological conditions, mental health needs and respiratory problems like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), have been involved in these pilots which will inform decisions on the rollout of the programme.

At the heart of a personal health budget is a care plan which sets out:
• the individuals’ needs or desired health outcomes,
• the amount of money in their budget, and
• how this will be spent.
A person’s care plan is developed by the patient in partnership with their healthcare professionals and others and then agreed with the Primary Care Trust (in future, the clinical commissioning group). The amount of money in the personal health budget and what it can be spent on is decided according to the individual’s needs.

Ways in which people have used personal health budgets:

Debbie, from Doncaster, used a personal health budget to organise flexible nursing care at her home after her father, Brian, became immobile and needed 24/7 care after a series of strokes.

David, from Nottingham, receives a personal health budget as a direct payment for health care. He has T5 paraplegia from the chest down, and needs dressings on his legs changed daily. David explains how, with his budget, he was able to arrange training for his personal assistants to do this. Their flexible schedule means he can go to work when he needs to instead of waiting for the district nurse, who now comes for a weekly check.


1. To learn more about how personal health budgets have helped different people, please visit the personal health budget website.

2. The 60 pilot sites are also on the personal health budget website.

3. The £1.5m funding will support personal health budgets in the period until April 2013, when responsibility for them will transfer to the NHS Commissioning Board. The draft mandate to the NHS Commissioning Board proposes extending personal budgets more widely following subject to the results of the pilot evaluation.

4. Subject to the evaluation, clinical commissioning groups will be able to offer them on a voluntary basis and it is the Government’s longer term aim to introduce a right to a personal health budget for people who would benefit from them.

5. As announced on 4 October 2011 subject to the evaluation, people in receipt of NHS Continuing Healthcare will be the first to have this right by April 2014.

6. For further information please contact the Department of Health press office on 020 7210 5435.

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