Personal Health Budgets (PHBs) roll-out

On 4 October 2011, at the Conservative party conference, the Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley, announced that people would have the right to request a personal budget for NHS continuing care.

This would be implemented in 2014 'to underline that commitment [to 'no decision about me without me'], today I can announce, we will offer personal health budgets to the 50,000 people eligible for NHS continuing care. Budgets that will give them more control over how their needs are met, allowing them to choose support and services that suit them and their families.'

Just over 12 months later, following the publishing of an independent evaluation of the pilot programme, commissioned by the department, the Minister of State for Care and Support, Norman Lamb, announced the national roll-out of personal health budgets (PHBs).

PHBs had been piloted in 20 areas over the past 3 years. The evaluation concluded that PHBs were often cost effective and recommended an extended roll-out, suggesting that:

  • PHBs should be initially targeted at people with greater need as a substitute for conventional service delivery
  • PHBs were cost effective for people with mental health problems and those receiving NHS continuing health care
  • the use of PHBs was likely to result in greater use of 'non-conventional' providers.
  • PHBs had contributed to significant improvement in the care-related quality of life and psychological wellbeing of patients, although health status remained the same.

Based on the evaluation conclusions, the government intended to target the roll-out at patients who were receiving NHS continuing care. By April 2014, up to 56,000 people would be able to ask for a personal health budget.


The Guardian.
Conservative Party conference live - Tuesday 4 October 2011.
The Guardian; 2011.

Department of Health and Social Care.
Personal health budgets to be rolled out.
Department of Health and Social Care; 2012.

Forder J, Jones K, Glendinning C, Caiels E, Welch E, Baxter K, Davidson J, Windle K, Irvine A, King D, Dolan P.
Evaluation of the personal health budget pilot.
Personal Social Services Research Unit; 2012.