The future of the left since 1884

By the People, With the People: How the NHS can work with us to make us partners in our own health


Policy documents have, for decades, sketched out a more sustainable vision for our healthcare system – with an apparently clear consensus that this will be achieved by moving away from a dependence on hospitals, delivering more preventative interventions, ‘getting upstream’, joining up silos, and working better with people and communities. Such ideas are featured in the Five Year Forward View, the NHS Long Term Plan, the Future of Hospitals Plan, the Wanless review, and ‘My health, my care, my choice’, to name but a few.

Yet according to the data, we are going backwards. Investment and services are increasingly concentrated in hospitals, the share of primary care funding and staff is decreasing, community services are decimated, and the public health grant is shrinking. Resources have not followed the policy direction set out in plans. The hospital-based medical model has grown, with pressure building in emergency and outpatient services. Policymakers are now stuck in a cycle of firefighting, with each winter heralding an entirely predictable crisis.

In this pamphlet, Charlotte Augst and Paul Corrigan set out to identify the factors that have scuppered progress on this widely shared agenda, and refine the calls for change into two simple questions. First, how can the NHS work with people to keep them healthy? Second, how can the NHS strengthen the contribution people themselves can make to their health and healthcare once they have acquired an illness or an impairment?

Download now

Paul Corrigan

Dr Paul Corrigan CBE served as a special adviser on health policy to Alan Milburn, John Reid and Tony Blair. He was then director of strategy for NHS London before becoming a non-executive director of the Care Quality Commission 2013-2019.


Charlotte Augst

Dr Charlotte Augst is executive director for policy, campaigns and improvement at Diabetes UK. She has authored this report in a personal capacity. She has engaged in health, care and research policymaking in parliament (for the chair of the Science and Technology Select Committee), for national regulators (HFEA and GPhC), and in the voluntary and community sector.


Our publications

View All

Plans for Power

Fabian ideas for transforming Britain

This pamphlet is a compilation of some of the most important ideas developed and championed by the Fabian Society in recent years. It is a ‘mixtape’ of the best proposals, from early years to pensions and from the future of work to public service ref...

Read more

A good life in all regions

Uniting our country to end poverty

The report of the Fabian Society's Commission on Regional Poverty and Inequality concludes that the UK has two major regional economy challenges – ‘low growth’ outside the south east, where places lack good jobs; and ‘overheating’ in the capital, whe...

Read more

Lawful and fair

Building a better migration system

In this pamphlet, Will Somerville and Sarah Mulley set out robust proposals to reform our migration system. They argue that it must be based on sound principles: it must be fair, it must be grounded in democratic consent, and it must respect people’s...

Read more

Support guaranteed

The roadmap to a National Care Service

Plans for a National Care Service for England were first presented 13 years ago in the dying days of the last Labour government. Since then no detailed work has taken place to flesh out what the service might look like or how it should be implemented...

Read more

Britain Reconnected

A foreign policy for security and prosperity at home

In this publication, David Lammy MP identifies the major geopolitical trends that will shape the UK's place in the world, and sets out the next Labour government’s approach to foreign policy

Read more

Healthy Britain

A new approach to health and wellbeing policy

Kim Leadbeater MP sets out a new, comprehensive strategy for improving the UK's health and wellbeing.

Read more

Green and Pleasant

Rebuilding rural Britain

An essay collection exploring the challenges faced by rural and coastal communities and how Labour should respond to them.

Read more

Reclaiming freedom

The case for a 21st century bill of powers and duties

In this pamphlet, Liam Byrne MP calls for Labour to make freedom its defining cause once again

Read more

Breaching the Sea Wall

Polling Labour's support in coastal towns

This briefing develops a new constituency grouping based on town and coastal geography: the 'Sea Wall'.

Read more

Levelling up?

Lessons from Germany

This report sets out the lessons which can be learned from Germany on rebalancing regional growth

Read more

The equality question

Why Labour should re-embrace its egalitarian roots

Our new pamphlet makes the case for the fight against inequality to be a core mission for Labour.

Read more

Enduring values

How progressives across Europe can win

An essay collection exploring the progressive values which can connect with voters in the UK and the EU.

Read more

A national music service


Our new report argues for the government to introduce a National Music Education Service

Read more

Equipped for the future

A vision for adult skills and training

In our latest collection, we bring together business leaders, policy experts, politicians, trade unionists and practitioners to develop a new vision for adult skills policy ahead of the next general election

Read more

A mature approach

How Labour can reconnect with older voters

Fabian Society research suggests 2 million older voters who did not support Labour in 2019 would consider doing so now.

Read more

Fabian membership

Join the Fabian Society today and help shape the future of the left

You’ll receive the quarterly Fabian Review and at least four reports or pamphlets each year sent to your door

Be a part of the debate at Fabian conferences and events and join one of our network of local Fabian societies

Join the Fabian Society
Fabian Society

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.