Personal health budgets

Guidance for GPs

The RCGP has produced a practical guide to support GPs in the introduction of personal health budgets in England. It explains what personal health budgets are, who might use them and how they can be implemented in a way that will benefit patients.

From October 2012, patients in England receiving NHS Continuing Healthcare will be eligible for a personal health budget and, by April 2014, all those with continuing health needs have the right to ask for a personal health budget. GPs will be able to offer them more widely to patients who they feel may benefit.

This means that, from October, patients may ask GPs about personal health budgets and for advice on their needs. This guidance document explains what a personal health budget is, the benefits of a personal health budget; and also explains how to implement a personal health budget.

The guide has been written by a group with first-hand experience of personal health budgets in the pilot sites, including GPs and personal health budget managers.

RCGP personal health budgets position statement

The Government has committed to rolling out personal health budgets, initially for those currently receiving NHS Continuing Healthcare in England. The budget is intended to cover the individual’s health needs within the context of a care plan to achieve agreed health outcomes.

This position statement draws on the evidence available so far from the pilots and other sources to set out the RCGP’s policy position on personal health budgets. It considers the benefits, risks and challenges associated with personal health budgets and makes recommendations concerning the policy framework for their introduction.

The RCGP believes strongly in the importance of personalised care and shared decision-making to deliver better patient outcomes. Personal health budgets are one of a variety of tools that may have the potential, under the right circumstances, to help realise these benefits for some patients. In particular, personal health budgets may provide patients with the opportunity to access different services that are better suited to their needs, and act as a stimulus for shared decision-making and an increased focus on care planning.