The power of the patient

IMG_5275Have you ever wanted to get involved in the decision-making process and make a difference within your GP practice? That’s just what a number of Doncaster locals have been doing since joining their surgery’s Patient Participation Group (PPG).

Most GP surgeries in the borough have a small team of volunteers who provide a voice for patients at the practice. Known as a Patient Participation Group or a PPG, these groups meet regularly to work with staff at the practice to improve the way things are run.

Changes implemented by local PPGs range from practices opening earlier to help appointments run on time, adaptations to seating to help those with disabilities, advice on privacy and dignity issues and changes to general housekeeping to ensure the surgery is kept spic and span.

Anne Evans has been a PPG member at the Scott Practice in Balby for over 18 months, she said: “I was invited to join my surgery’s PPG almost two years ago. We meet once a month for around an hour and a half and share ideas with the practice manager, a GP and other staff. I feel there’s a real togetherness when we meet – it’s ‘us’, not ‘them’.

“Since joining the group, we have organized McMillan Coffee Mornings, discussed with staff how to communicate better with patients and aided with flu jab days. Every time we meet we make those little changes that eventually make the practice better for everyone in the long-run.”

Every few months, PPG members from across town are also invited to take part in the ‘PPG Network’. This forum encourages delegates from each practice to share ideas, discuss latest updates to NHS services and hear about the work that is being done to improve healthcare in the area.

Curtis Henry, Equality, Diversity and Engagement Officer at Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “PPGs provide crucial feedback and help staff at practices understand how to deliver a better service and provide a better experience for the patients they serve.

“The work of PPGs is invaluable to the CCG. The feedback we get from the network helps shape the decisions that we make and influence the services we commission for all our patients and carers.”

If you would like to join your practice’s PPG, ask a member of staff for further details and meeting dates.