PHB | Personal Health Budgets


A personal health budget (PHB) is funding designated to support an individuals health and wellbeing needs, which is planned and agreed between the individual or their representative, and the local clinical commissioning group (CCG). A PHB is not new funding, but a different way of applying health care funding to fit the needs of an individual.


Personal health budgets are a way of personalising care, based around what matters to people and their strengths and needs. They give disabled people and people with long term conditions more choice, control and flexibility over their healthcare.


A personal health budget may be used for a range of things to meet agreed health and wellbeing outcomes. This can include therapies, personal care and equipment. There are some restrictions on how the budget can be spent.


Personal health budgets are part of the NHS's comprehensive model of personalised care which aims to, as part of the NHS Long Term Plan, transform 2.5 million lives by 2023/24.


PHB's can operate in three forms:

  1. Direct Payment PHB

  2. Third-Party PHB

  3. Notional PHB


Direct Payment PHB

Your representative or one of the approved Direct Payment support services holds the PHB funds to purchase the care and support you and your local CCG have agreed. For auditing purposes, you or your support service supplier will have to show what the funds have been spent on. If you choose to use personal assistants, you will be the employer and will recruit and manage them yourself with a Direct Payment support service where required.


Third-Party PHB?


A Care Quality Commission (CQC) registered provider (third party) holds the funds for you and helps you determine what you need. After you have agreed to this with your local CCG team, the provider purchases the care and support you have chosen, and they become the employer.


Notional PHB

You find out what funds are available for your healthcare needs and then talk to your local CCG team about the various ways to use those funds on meeting your needs. The CCG will then arrange the agreed care and support. No money changes hands in this method.


Fundamental elements of a personal health budget

Personalised care and support planning are crucial to making personal health budgets run well. A personalised care and support plan helps people identify their health and wellbeing goals, mutually with their local CCG team and sets out how the resources will be spent to enable them to reach their goals and keep healthy and safe.

The person with a personal health budget (or their representative) should:

  1. Be central in developing their personalised care and support plan and agree who is involved

  2. Be able to agree on the health and wellbeing outcomes* they want to achieve, together with relevant health, education and social care professionals

  3. Get an upfront indication of what funds they have available for healthcare and support

  4. Have enough money in the budget to meet the health and wellbeing needs and outcomes* agreed in the personalised care and support plan

  5. Have the option to manage the funds as a direct payment, a notional budget, a third party budget or a mix of these methods

  6. Be able to use the money to meet their outcomes in ways and at times that make sense to them, as agreed in their personalised care and support plan.

*And learning outcomes for children and young people with education, health and care plans.

For information about personal health budgets in each local area, please refer to your local CCG's website. All CCGs are required to inform eligible people about their right to a personal health budget.