This paper, based on a talk given at a conference on compassion in health care held at the Royal Society of Medicine in November 2012, argues that the ethical requirement for humanity in health care is obvious and needs little ethical analysis – the problem is to get the results of ethical reflection, ordinary humanity and everyday common sense, into everyday behaviour. The author offers some suggestions that might help to achieve this aim and bring back the human face of health and social care. These suggestions concern organisational structural changes (including `humanity objectives' in appraisal and reward schemes); individual attitudes (including self assessment of their own humanity in their work by all health and social care workers – `does my own practice manifest a human face?'); and a possible research agenda (and a concomitant effort to remind all health care research funders that `humanity is an integral component of medical, health and care research'. And the author proposes a standing high level `humanity task force' to implement and oversee Health Education England's recent `humanity mandate'