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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.

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.

Key findings

Person- and community-centred approaches for health and wellbeing have significant potential to improve outcomes for individuals, support the development of strong and resilient communities and, over time, help reduce demand on formal health and social care services. There is evidence from both research and practice to demonstrate the benefits of person- and community-centred approaches, across three dimensions of value:

Mental and physical health and wellbeing

Person- and community-centred approaches have been shown to increase people’s self-efficacy and confidence to manage their health and care, improve health outcomes and experience, to reduce social isolation and loneliness, and build community capacity and resilience, among other outcomes.

NHS sustainability

These approaches can impact how people use health and care services and can lead to reduced demand on services, such as emergency admissions and A&E visits.

Wider social outcomes

Person- and community-centred approaches can lead to a wide range of social outcomes, from improving employment prospects and school attendance to increasing volunteering. They also can potentially contribute to reducing health inequalities for individuals and 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. It also describes where there are gaps in the evidence and where we need to know more.

We intend the report to be a practical resource to support the work of commissioners, providers, communities and others seeking to find ways to empower individuals and communities in their health and care. In addition, we hope that it 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.

Alongside the main report, we have also published two annexes produced by the Institute of Health & Society, Newcastle University: a scoping review of the evidence base and evidence summaries for five shortlisted approaches.

Authors

Suzanne Wood, Health Foundation, and Annie Finnis, Halima Khan and Johanna Ejbye, Nesta

Appendices

Authors

Suzanne Wood

Suzanne Wood is an Improvement Fellow at the Health Foundation.

Johanna Ejbye

Johanna Ejbye

Johanna Ejbye

Johanna worked in the Health and Ageing team within the Innovation Lab. She worked on Realising the Value - a programme funded by NHS England and jointly led with the Health Foundati...

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Halima Khan

Halima Khan

Halima Khan

Executive Director, Health Lab

Halima is Executive Director of the Health Lab, which aims to create a people powered health system. Health Lab brings together Nesta's practical work on health and ageing to achieve...

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Annie Finnis

Annie Finnis

Annie Finnis

Director of Operations and Impact, Health Lab

Annie is Director of Operations and Impact in the Health Lab at Nesta.

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