Personal Health Budget helps make sure disability is no barrier to Colin’s career

Tuesday 31st January

A disabled man from Chapeltown is the first person in Leeds to receive a combined ‘Personal Health Budget’ and this innovative joint care arrangement has given him the opportunity to complete his college studies.

Colin McDonnell, 22, had this put in place for him when it looked as though he was not going to be able to finish his studies at Leeds City College; so NHS Leeds South & East Clinical Commissioning Group and the Local Authority stepped in and combined his health and social care budgets.

Personal health budgets can be allocated to people with long-term conditions and disabilities, enabling them to choose the care and support that will best support their health and social needs. It provides greater choice and control over the healthcare and support they receive.

Colin chose to use his budget to employ his own team of Personal Assistants (PAs) who know and support him, whether he is at home or college, making the arrangement simpler than before when he had separate carers in the different environments.

The situation ensures consistency of carers and is much less disruptive making it easier for him to achieve his BTEC college course goals.

For example if Colin is working in the college library and work is flowing, he can ask his PAs to stay in the library with him as they are the same staff who support him at home. Previously he would have had to stop studying and go home.

As a student at Leeds City College, last year Colin achieved a Distinction in a Level 2; BTEC course in Applied IT and he is now working towards achieving a Distinction in a Level 3: BTEC course in IT and Business Studies.

Colin is determined to work alongside his peers on the course and does not need any support with the college work itself but he does need support when it comes to note taking, communication, eating and getting around college.

Colin has a metabolic disorder and due to the severe and complex disabilities his condition causes he uses a wheelchair and needs care and support 24 hours a day.

The combined Personal Health Budgets have provided Colin with more choice, control and flexibility over his care and support, which he is able to adapt in ways that personally suit him and his circumstances.

Colin said “I feel more at ease with my own staff as I am able to be more independent and communicate with them to take control of situations and find solutions”.

Jennie Smith, Colin’s Joint Care Manager said “It is really rewarding to see this young man being more independent, being able to go to college and achieve the things that are important to him.

“He is able to do things that he simply could not do before.

“He is now an advocate for other people in similar situations”

Colin volunteers once a week at the William Merrit Disabled Living Centre in Armley, Leeds which helps disabled people by providing advice and access to try out new equipment to help with daily living.

Susan McDonnell, Colin’s Mum said “The continuity of the PAs has completely changed things for Colin and since being granted the PHB his social life is unbelievable”.

His social life has flourished and Colin regularly enjoys visiting the theatre and cinema and plays the sport Boccia.

Colin’s real passion is technology, computers and gaming. He helps out in workshops at the Apple store in Leeds and with fundraising events for ‘Special Effects’, the gaming charity for disabled people.

Sue Kendal, Strategic Development Manager (PHB Development Lead) NHS Leeds South and East Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Personal Health Budgets provide the opportunity for individuals to have ‘more say’ on how they want their future care and support to be.

“Colin’s situation is a great example of what can be achieved through working collaboratively with him and his family and in partnership with the Local Authority”.


Colin is diagnosed with Glutaric Aciduria Type 1; a metabolic disorder in which the body is unable to process certain proteins properly.

For further information contact:

NHS Leeds South and East Clinical Commissioning Group – Communications Office

Jordan Law (Communication & Engagement Officer) – 0113 843 1730