Jo Fitzgerald, co-founder and director of peoplehub has been recognised by HSJ as one of 50 patient leaders whose personal experiences have led them to instigate change and as a result are shaping health care.

Jo’s son Mitchell was one of the first people in England to have a personal health budget. Mitchell was born with a severe disability and complex health needs, but was able to lead a full life at home – in large part, his mother says, because of the increased flexibility and control afforded by his personal health budget.

She founded community interest company Peoplehub to share her experiences, and to give a voice to people who have – or who want – a personal health budget. Sadly, Mitchell died in March, but in a moving blog post on the NHS England website – she leads its national personal health budget peer network – Jo says she is determined to continue her work as a patient and carer champion.

Judges’ comments: “Setting up an organisation to support people with personalised health budgets so they can be independent in their own homes is an important piece of work.”