Skip main navigation

3 ways to manage a personal health budget

This article looks at three ways to manage a personal health budget, and lists the benefits of having one. Let's explore.
A personal health budget can be managed in three ways, or a combination of them:

1. Notional budget

The money stays with the NHS. You are told how much money is available and talk to your local NHS team about the different ways to spend the money on meeting your needs. The NHS team then arranges the care and support that you have all agreed on.

2. Budget held by a ’third party’

An organisation or trust that is independent of you and the NHS holds the money for you and supports you to meet your health and well-being outcomes.

3. Direct payment for healthcare

You receive the money directly to buy the care and support that you have decided you need, in agreement with your local NHS team. You, or your representative, buy and manage the services. You will also have to show what you have spent the money on.

A personal health budget

When done well, a person with a personal health budget will:

  • Be central in developing their personalised care and support plan and agree who is involved
  • Be able to agree on the health and wellbeing outcomes they want to achieve, in partnership with the relevant health, education and social care professionals
  • Get an upfront indication of how much money they have available for healthcare and support
  • Have enough money in the budget to meet the health and wellbeing needs and outcomes agreed upon in the personalised care and support plan
  • Have the option to manage the money as a direct payment, a notional budget, a third party budget or a mix of these approaches
  • 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.

Continuing Healthcare

Currently, adults who are eligible for Continuing Healthcare and children and young people who are eligible for Continuing Care have a legal right to have a personal health budget.

From 2nd December 2019, this legal right now includes people who are eligible for section 117 aftercare (Mental Health Act) and people eligible to use their local wheelchair service or who are already registered using wheelchairs.

Local areas are also making personal health budgets available to other groups of people who could benefit, depending on the needs of their local population.

Please see below a short animation that explains more about how personal health budgets work.

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

This article is from the free online

Personalised Care: Peer Leadership Foundation - Step One

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education