Personal health budgets

Personal Health Budgets
On this page we’ll explain what a Personal Health Budget (PHB) is, how you can get in touch if you’d like to enquire about them, and how North Durham CCG is thinking of expanding them in 2016/17


We’re very proud of the work NHS staff do every day in Durham. They do a fantastic job of caring for people across the area. And most of the time, the people they care for are very happy with the support they receive.

But we also know that sometimes what our staff can give isn’t what people feel they need. That’s why we’re doing a lot of work around trying to personalise care for people. PHBs are one way we can do that.

Personalising care really just means working with you to identify what things you want to achieve and doing our best to tailor the support we give you in order to help you do that.


What are Personal Health Budgets?
A PHB is an amount of money to support the health and wellbeing needs of you or someone you care for. It takes personalisation a step further. In essence, it looks at the money the NHS is spending on you or the one you care for, and then ask the question, “Could we spend this money in better way?”

PHBs have been available for some people in North Durham since 2012 and enable a person to talk to their local NHS team about what is important to them, and to agree ways to support their identified health and wellbeing needs. The aim is to give people greater choice and control over the healthcare and support they receive.

PHBs can pay for a wide range of items and services, including therapies, personal care and equipment, allowing more choice and control over the health services and care an individual receives, and the way he or she receives it. Really, you can be as imaginative as you like, as long as it meets your health and wellbeing needs and have been agreed with your NHS team.


Who can have a PHB in North Durham?
Eligibility for a PHB is determined by national legislation, along with local health needs, financial constraints and other factors. Within North Durham, we are expanding PHBs and from April 2016 the following groups of people will be eligible to apply for one:

  • Children receiving NHS continuing care, including children with special educational needs and disabilities as part of their EHC plans (EHCP)
  • Adults receiving NHS continuing health care
  • Adults or children with a learning disability and/or autism who have complex needs or who display behaviour that challenges
  • People with long-term conditions
  • People with mental health difficulties

While anyone with these conditions can apply for a PHB from 1st April, we’re working closely with providers and community health teams to organise training to staff groups in a planned way.

So if your usual NHS worker doesn’t know about PHB’s because they haven’t received the training yet, you can contact our PHB team directly on 0191 3713612 who will be happy to answer any questions.


Key points about PHBs

  • NHS values still hold – no one will pay their own money to get the services they need or be denied essential treatment as a result of having a personal health budget
  • Having a personal health budget does not entitle someone to more services, more expensive services, or preferential access to NHS services
  • PHBs aren’t means tested. If the CCG approves your PHB, everything in the plan that helps achieve an agreed health outcome will be fully funded by the NHS
  • Services should be safe and effective. Using them should be a positive experience
  • PHBs should help people get a service from the NHS that best suits them
  • The individual should have as much control over decisions as appropriate. Support is available for people to enable them to make choices and decisions regarding their health and wellbeing
  • No one will have to get their services through a PHB if they do not want to

We’ll also be organising other ways to collect your views about PHBs during the year, and will update this page when we do.


Further Reading and information

NHS Choices – about personal health budgets  (external site)

NHS Choices – real stories of personal health budgets  (external site)

NHS England – about personal health budgets  (external site)