A Patient Participation Group (PPG) is a group of patients, carers and GP practice staff who meet to discuss practice issues and patient experience to help improve the service. Since April 2015, it has been a contractual requirement of NHS England for all GP practices to have a PPG and to make reasonable efforts for this to be representative of the practice population.
There is no set way in which they work – the work of each group entirely depends on local needs – but they have the aim of making sure that their Practice puts the patient, and improving health, at the heart of everything it does. The key focus is upon ensuring patients are central to the process of shaping and developing health services.
There are many benefits to becoming an active member within your patient participation group, not only helping your practice but also the local NHS.
PPGs can potentially benefit Practices by:
- Commenting and feeding back on the results from in-house and external surveys.
- Suggesting changes to the way the surgery is operated.
- Acting as a sounding board for changes proposed by the Practice.
- Managing a suggestions box.
- Organising health talks for patients on specific subjects requested by patients or the Practice.
- Fund raising.
PPGs can potentially benefit communities by:
- Supporting other patients in need – the “expert patient” concept.
- Representing the patient view in local health care.
- Improving communication with practice staff.
- Making links with other community initiatives – a type of community empowerment / social prescribing.
Your views and opinions within this are fundamentally important. It will require patients and wider public to be directly involved in the decision making processes where changes occur, including your influence on what, where and how Health Services are provided locally.
Interested in making a real difference at your practice? Ask at your GP Surgery about how to join your PPG, or look at the link on your GP Practice website.