This guide is a summary of what has been learned so far about how to make personal health budgets work well. It brings together findings from the evaluation and good practice advice developed together with the pilot sites.
It shows how personal health budgets should work from the point of view of the budget holder, and how to promote an equal partnership between budget holders and clinicians. It is not intended to be a complete guide to personal health budgets.
Key learning points
- Equal access: providers need to understand how different people will be affected by their activities, so that policies and services are accessible to all and meet different people’s needs
- Leadership: it is essential that frontline practitioners, clinicians, and managers take a lead locally, in order to build support for personal health budgets.
- Co-production: to be successful, the NHS needs to work alongside people who hold personal health budgets and their families.
- Outcomes: personal health budgets are about what people want to achieve in the future, rather than focusing on what services the NHS has previously provided.
- A whole life, whole family approach: care plans need to focus on the whole of life, not just on health needs. The situation of the person and their family should be explored, and carers should also be offered an assessment of their own needs.
- Managing risk: people may choose to meet their needs in ways that are very different from those traditionally offered. It is important to have a positive attitude to enabling people to make choices and take risks, balanced with the duty to have proper arrangements in place to protect people.
- Sufficient resources: there needs to be good access to information, support to make a plan, and a range of ways to manage the money. The budget must be sufficient to enable the person to achieve their health outcomes.