100,000 more people to be given personal health budgets

A change in law means people who use wheelchairs or need mental health support will have greater choice and control in managing their own health and care.

The change in law comes into force on Monday 2 December, following legislation being laid in Parliament today (31 October).

From 2 December, everyone eligible for an NHS wheelchair and people who require aftercare services under section 117 of the Mental Health Act will have access to a personal health budget.

Personal health budgets are planned and agreed between individuals and clinicians, giving people greater choice, flexibility and control over their health and care support.

A personal health budget could be spent on:

  • specially adapted wheelchairs designed to maximise independence
  • a choice of personal care assistants who can be trained to meet the individual’s needs
  • exercise classes to help maintain a healthy lifestyle, gain confidence and reduce stress

Over 70,000 people are already benefiting from personal health budgets, helping people with complex needs stay healthy and independent for longer.

As part of the NHS Long Term Plan, the health system will increase access so up to 200,000 people can receive one by 2024.

The NHS Long Term Plan aims to expand personalised care. This will be given to 2.5 million people by 2024 through measures including personal health budgets and social prescribing, where people are referred by their GPs to local community or voluntary activities. 

Last year DHSC and NHS England consulted on extending the right to a personal health budget. The consultation revealed strong support, with nearly 9 out of 10 respondents supporting the proposals.

The NHS will continue to explore further extension of legal rights to other groups covered in the consultation as appropriate, including people with ongoing mental health needs and those with learning disabilities.

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock said:

Everyone deserves the right to make decisions about their care, and health and care should be centred around each and every one of us, not a one-size-fits-all approach.

Our NHS Long Term Plan has personalised care at its core. This important piece of legislation puts the power back in the hands of more people, transforming the wellbeing and quality of life for thousands while also reducing distressing and avoidable hospital trips.

Minister for Care Caroline Dinenage said:

I’ve seen for myself how personal health budgets are giving people a new lease of life, opening up possibilities to let them live their lives fully.

This extension of legal rights will give many more people independence, a say in how they’re cared for, improving their experiences while ensuring value for money for taxpayers.

This is an important step in our NHS Long Term Plan’s ambition to see personalised care become the norm for thousands more across the country.