Section 117 After-care & Personal Health Budgets

21 November 2019

From 2nd December 2019 you can get a personal health budget if you are entitled to section 117 after-care. Before this date only people who got Continuing Healthcare could have a personal health budget. We will update this page as more information become available. 

What is section 117 after-care?

You might have been detained in hospital under the Mental Health Act.  This is sometimes known as being ‘sectioned’.

You might have been detained under one of these sections of the Mental Health Act:

  • Section 3: detained in hospital for treatment,
  • Sections 47 and 48: transferred from prison to hospital, or
  • Sections 37 and 45a: ordered to go to hospital by a court.

If the above applies to you, you are entitled to free after-care when you leave hospital. It should be provided by the NHS and social services.   After-care should last for as long as you need it. 

This after-care is known as ‘section 117 after-care.’  This is because section 117 of the Mental Health Act gives you this right.

You can read more about section 117 after-care by visiting our section 117 factsheet

Frequently Asked Questions


What is a personal health budget?

A personal health budget is an amount of money to support your health and wellbeing needs. It is planned and agreed between you and your NHS mental health team. A personal health budget allows you to manage your healthcare in a way that suits you.

What can I spend my personal health budget on?

You should work with your NHS mental health team to identify:

  • your health needs, and
  • what support and care you need to meet those needs.

You can spend your personal health budget on care and support to meet your needs. You should agree this with your NHS mental health team.  Your local Care Commissioning Group (CCG) might need to be involved too.

You might be able to spend the money on a broader range of care and support than the NHS usually offer.  For example, if a side effect of your medication is weight gain, you might be able to use your budget to pay gym fees.

Can my budget pay for prescriptions?

Your personal health budget can’t be used to pay for prescriptions.But under section 117 after-care you are entitled to some free prescriptions. This is to cover medication you've been prescribed to treat the mental health condition that caused you to be detained.

Do I have to use my budget to pay my GP or for emergency care?

Your personal health budget should be used for the specialist support and care you need because of your illness or disability.  You don’t need to use it to pay to see your GP or to get emergency care, for example.  These services will be provided to you free of charge.

Will I get a care plan?

Together with your NHS mental health team, you will develop a care plan.  The plan sets out:

  • your personal health and wellbeing needs,
  • the health outcomes you want to achieve,
  • the amount of money in the budget, and
  • how you are going to spend it.

Your care plan should be regularly reviewed.  You can ask for your plan to be reviewed if you think it isn’t meeting your needs.

Who will be responsible for overseeing my care?

A care co-ordinator should be responsible for your care. They will help you organise your personal budget.

Most people who are entitled to section 117 after-care will be under what is known as the Care Programme Approach (CPA).

CPA is a package of care that is used by secondary mental health services. You will have a care plan and a care co-ordinator to coordinate your care.  Both your healthcare and social care needs should be met.

CPA should be available if you have a wide range of needs from different services or you are thought to be a high risk.

You can read more about the Care Programme Approach by visiting our Care Programme Approach factsheet

What is the difference between a personal health budget and social care direct payments?

A personal health budget pays for your specialist healthcare needs.

Social care direct payments pay for your social care needs.

So, an NHS personal health budget is different to direct payments for social care. 

If you are eligible for social care you can choose:

  • for your local authority to arrange services for you, or
  • to have direct payments to arrange and pay for services yourself.

You can find out more about direct payments by visiting our Direct Payments factsheet

Who can support me when I’m making decisions about my budget?

You should be supported by a suitable professional to think through how you would like to use your budget.   This will usually be your care co-ordinator.

Your NHS mental health team is responsible for:

  • giving you advice about your budget, or
  • referring you to a suitable local organisation for advice.

Could I give up my personal budget?

You can give up your personal health budget at any time.  You will still be able to receive care and support in another way.


Where can I find out more information?

You can read more about personal budgets by visit the NHS website >

You can also find more information on the People Hub website:


People with a personal health budget and their families share their experiences. The website also includes information and resources on personal health budgets.

You can also contact our advice and information service by calling them between 9:30am to 4pm Monday to Friday on 0300 500 927 or contact them via our online advice form.