Personal budgets and health: a review of the evidence

The UK Government has committed to expanding the use of personal health budgets for health service users following the evaluation of the pilot programme which ran from 2009-2012. This is part of a wider ‘personalisation’ agenda, which has become a central theme in the reform of health and social care in England, and also features increasingly prominently in the policies of other UK governments, in addition to governments of many other developed countries around the world. A number of other countries around the world have experimented with various forms of personal budgets, although predominantly for the purchasing of care that, in the UK, would be described as social rather than health care. Programmes – and their contexts – vary enormously. There is no programme elsewhere that is directly comparable to personal health budgets in England. There is therefore no directly relevant evidence from which we might extrapolate. However, this review collates evidence on those various programmes in order to examine the case for investing further in personal health budgets. It incorporates the findings of the recently published final report of the evaluation of the personal health budget pilot in England (Forder et al. 2012).

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