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Being a personal health budget holder: becoming a ‘professional parent’
  1. Kate Woodthorpe
  1. Department of Social and Policy Sciences, University of Bath, Bath, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Kate Woodthorpe, University of Bath, Bath BA2 7AY, UK; k.v.woodthorpe{at}

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Over the last decade across the UK, there has been a push towards integrated personal commissioning and models of co-production to support children with complex medical needs.1 In England, this drive has been exemplified by the creation of personal health budgets (PHBs) for children via the Children and Families Act (2014). These budgets are the allocation of pre-existing funds to create bespoke packages of care or to purchase items that can support the child in receipt of continuing care according to their care plan. Their rationale has been to enable eligible children and their parent(s) greater choice and control2 and in this regard they have been widely regarded a success.1

As a parent of a child with a PHB, in this first-hand account I show that while a PHB has enabled a high degree of control it has come with significant personal cost for me, the budget holder. Being a budget holder has required that I become a ‘professional parent’3 and, together with my other responsibilities for my son, this can threaten to supersede or detract from my parental role of simply being ‘mum’. In sharing this experience, I hope to provide much needed personal insight into the lived experience of self-administering a PHB and make a case for future research into the consequences of PHBs for …

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.