What are Patient Participation Groups (PPGs)?
There is a requirement for GP surgeries to have Patient Participation Groups so that they can involve patients in the planning and delivery of the services provided by the practice.
Patient Participation Groups exist to work in partnership with the practice to ensure that the patient voice is heard and that services are planned and delivered taking into account patient views, experiences and needs.
Patient groups vary in size and the activities that they carry out. These include:
- Carrying out surveys to capture patient and carer feedback
- Working in partnership with the practice to review and act on patient feedback
- Publicising and promoting health and wellbeing services (including those offered by voluntary and community groups)
- Contributing practical support to the services provided
- Providing the patient perspective in the planning and evaluating of services
Our case study evidences some of the amazing work being undertaken by 1 of Sutton PPGs which is enhancing and improving services for the benefit of all.
Shotfield Medical Practice
Shotfield Medical Practice is one of Sutton's larger GP practices located in the Jubilee Health Centre in Wallington. Their proactive PPG is made up of 10/12 volunteer patients who are successfully working with their practice to help shape and develop the services provided by the practice.
Each year, they collaborate with the practice to design and distribute their practice survey to capture patient feedback. Volunteers from the PPG support the completion of the survey, by spending time in the waiting room, helping and encouraging patients to provide their feedback. This has resulted in an incresed number of survey responses and this year they have committed over 30 hours of their time to spend in the waiting room engaging patients.
Survey results are evaluated and discussed, and the PPG works with the practice to address key issues. One area, highlighted in their 2017 survey, identified that over 40% of respondents expressed an interest in information about Healthy Activities and Healthy Eating.
Volunteers from the PPG are now providing health information in a variety of ways. A member of the PPG manages a PPG Facebook page where they are able to post information, including key health messages, details of local health support services and local health awareness events.
The volunteer practice health champion works with the staff and the PPG to run regular themed information and awareness stands for the benefit of the practice patients and all who use the health centre. This has included information to support self care and informing and encouraging take up of cervical screening.
A member of the PPG group has linked up with Wallington Community Wellbeing Group, a local charity that aims to develop and promote community activities that support and enable people to stay healthy and active in their community. The charity produces a calendar of local healthy activities and supplies the practice staff and patients with supplies of the twice yearly updated information, and produced a promotional flyer of the practice in the form of a 'prescription' pad. Calendars are also distributed to a number of nearby practices.
Following conversations at the PPG about the many health and wellbeing benefits of exercise, volunteers from the PPG and Wallington Wellbeing Group set-up a walking group 'Wally Walks', originally primarily for patients of the practice. However, it is now open to people living in the Wallington area.
2 years on, 'Wally Walks' is popular and thriving. Walkers appreciate the small, friendly groups that support and encourage getting fitter and advancing to more challenging walks. Driven by demand, they now run a weekly walk with an average of 30-35 walkers each week and around 50 unique ethnically diverse participants each month. 8 trained walk leaders are available to lead groups at different distances and to accommodate different levels of fitness but all meet up for much appreciated refreshments at the end. Once a month, the group end their walk at Sutton Community Farm, further engaging the group around healthy eating. In return, walkers have raised fund to donate farm 'veg boxes' to Sutton Food Bank.
If you are interested in getting involved in your practice patient group, check out the practice website to see what is involved or speak to practice staff.
Perhaps you are not able to join a patient group, but have some skills, experience or time that you could offer in support? If you hare offered the opportunity by your practice PPF to give your views or make constructive comments, we would encourage you to support them to ensue that they capture a range of views from patients to inform their activities.
For more information about PPGs, please get in touch with Pam Howe, Patient Engagement Officer.