Patient Participation Group

What is a PPG?

Patient Participation Groups tend to be set up by Practices but, over time, they are usually run by patients. Typically they will have a committee that meets regularly to give the PPG some leadership and a sense of direction. The PPG should work closely with the Practice and it is normal for members of the Practice Team, including General Practitioners, to be part of the Patient Participation Group.

Patient Participation Groups are not set up to be a ‘forum for moaners’, nor are they ‘doctor fan clubs’. They are a route for patients to advise and inform the Practice on what matters most to patients and to help identify solutions to problems. Members of PPGs should think about the wider patient interest and not just their own personal concerns when serving on the PPG.

What do PPGs do?

The activities of Patient Partnership Groups vary because they develop and evolve to meet local needs of their Practice Population. Activities may include:

  • Improving communication by assisting in the production newsletters or leaflets for patients;
  • Participate as appropriate in the organisation of health promotion events;
  • Acting as a ‘critical friend’ to the Practice, helping it appreciate what patients are thinking and are saying about issues, such as
    • opening hours’;
    • telephone systems;
    • requests for home visits;
    • delays in being taken for appointment;
    • seeing their favourite clinician;
    • repeat prescriptions, and
    • the range and type of services provided within the Practice;
  • Helping to fill some of the gaps in services by signposting patients to available support or providing services such as patient libraries, volunteer transport, befriending and support groups;
  • Fundraising to support the work of the PPG and to improve the care that is available to patients of the Practice;
  • Influencing the services that are provided, and where they are provided;
  • Undertaking appropriate surveys or research to find out what matters to patients and discussing the findings with the Practice.

How to get involved

To some people reading this brief guide, this will seem rather daunting. But rest assured that, according to the National Association for Patient Participation (NAPP), Patient Participation Groups across the country, run by patients, are doing these things and are making a real difference. Choose the level and degree of involvement that suits you best, whether as a member of the Group or just helping out once in a while. It is all voluntary and every and each contribution is appreciated and valued.

Fill in the application form below to get started.