Skip to main content

At the heart of health: Realising the value of people and communities

This report explores the value of people and communities at the heart of health, in support of the NHS Five Year Forward View vision to develop a new relationship with people and communities.

Our starting point is that health and care services need to work alongside individuals, carers, families, social networks and thriving communities. This report seeks to bring together in one place a wide range of person- and community-centred approaches for health and wellbeing. It provides an overview of the existing evidence base with a particular focus on the potential benefits of adopting person- and community-centred approaches.

We hope this report will help commissioners, policymakers and practitioners to understand the range of approaches available, some of the key components and their potential to improve health and wellbeing outcomes, NHS sustainability and social value.

Person- and community-centred approaches to health and wellbeing have come a long way over the past fifteen years: from pioneering practice situated outside of the mainstream, to a central place in NHS England’s vision for the NHS. There is growing consensus about the need for health and care services to embrace the benefits of taking a more person- and community-centred approach.

Yet, despite this policy focus and many good examples of person- and community-centred approaches being implemented in frontline practice, it is still far from being ‘the way we do things’ within health and care services.

It is important that we now do much more to better understand which person- and community-centred approaches work in what circumstances and how to achieve much greater take up and spread of the most effective approaches.