Personal Budgets for children with additional needs

Published: October, 2013

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The Special Educational Needs and Disability Champion Pathfinder SE7 has produced several information leaflets about Personal Budgets within Education Health Care Plans - SE7 explaining Personal Budgets .

The Personal  Budget within an EHC Plan is not the same thing as an  NHS Personal Health Budget . Both are significant for the transformation of services and need to be understood by all involved professionals and families. They merge because they share key core  values including-

-keeping the child and family at the heart of what happens, hearing the service user voice and using it in service design

-multiagency partnership and collaboration


NHS Personal Health Budgets

The government's aim is that in future, everyone in England who could benefit will have the option of a personal health budget. This commitment includes parents of children with special educational needs and disabilities.

As a first step there is a Government commitment that by April 2014, people eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare (including parents of children with additional needs) will have the right to ask for a personal health budget, including a direct payment for healthcare. The NHS will also be able to offer personal health budgets more widely.

Personal Health Budget is an amount of money to support a person’s identified health and wellbeing needs, planned and agreed between the person and their local NHS team. The  vision for personal health budgets is to enable people with long term conditions and disabilities to have greater choice, flexibility and control over the health care and support they receive.

Eligibility  - this will be assessed initially with a Check List Tool which will be completed and forwarded to a multidisciplinary team for a Decision Support Tool to be completed. Following full assessment by the multi disciplinary team a recommendation will be made to the CCG. The CCG will then discuss -
  • how  the family's needs and care will be managed
  • where  care will be given, for example, in the familiy's  own home or in a care home
  • which organisation will be responsible for meeting the family's needs 

As part of the discussion about how the child and family's needs will be met their wishes will be written down and taken into account. For children and young people with an Education Health Care (EHC) Plan these needs will be recorded within that Plan. Some areas are expanding EHC Plans to include all children and young people with additional needs. When a child and family are  not entitled to NHS continuing healthcare their local authority will discuss with them  whether they may be eligible for support from them. Where a child and family are not  eligible for NHS continuing healthcare but  still have healthcare needs, the NHS may still pay for part of the support that they  need in a  joint package of care.


The NHS Mandate sets a clear objective for the NHS to become dramatically better at involving people...“empowering them to manage and make decisions about their own care and treatment.”

The Mandate includes an objective that everyone “who could benefit will have the option to hold their own personal health budget, as a way to have even more control over their care”.
Learning from the pilot
Personal health budgets were tested in a large scale pilot programme between 2009 and 2012. The evaluation showed that:
-people with a personal health budget had better outcomes and may spend less time in hospital
-personal health budgets were cost effective especially for people with the highest needs
-better results were obtained when people knew their budget up front, had access to advice and support, had choice and flexibility over how to use the budget, and could choose how it is managed.
National delivery programme
NHS England has put in place a delivery programme which aims to help the NHS to meet the April 2014 deadline. This builds on best practice from the pilot programme and learning from early adopter sites.


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