What are GP Patient Participation Groups (PPGs)?
GP Patient Participation Groups (PPGs) work in partnership with GP practices. Members are usually patients at the practice or people associated with it. Some groups meet in person, others are ‘virtual’ groups with members communicating with their practice online.
PPGs are vitally important in enabling patients to be involved in influencing the way that their own local health services are delivered. That’s why, in line with our engagement and communications framework, our team is working with GP practices to help them grow and strengthen their groups. PPGs allow patients to contribute their views and to support their practices in a variety of ways. This could be through making suggestions for improvements to services and the practice environment, taking part in patient surveys, running health promotion events, supporting the running of flu clinics and producing newsletters.
Patient Participation Groups exist in most of our 86 practices in Dorset and new members are always welcome. You can find out more about your own PPG by speaking to a member of staff at your practice. Why not give it a try? PPG members often report on how informative, fun, and interesting meetings are and that they provide great opportunities to meet new and like-minded people.
If you would like us to put you in touch with your GP practice PPG, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Some of our Dorset Practice Managers have shared their experiences of their own PPGs here:
Rosie Green, Practice Manager at Lilliput Surgery, Poole said, “Developing the PPG into a proactive forum which benefits both patients and staff has been one of the most rewarding things I have done since becoming a practice manager. It still pleasantly surprises me how willing people are to champion the work of the surgery once they are engaged with it.
It takes a bit of effort and nurturing to get it off the ground, but the benefits are fantastic. Having a “team” of patients acting as advocates for the Surgery means we can achieve so much more by working together, which is increasingly important as the pressure on NHS resources continues to rise.”
Emma Prince – Littledown practice, Bournemouth said, “I love working with our Patient Group. They are supportive, friendly and good fun! They remind us that we’re here for the patients after all, and they are very protective of the practice.”
How we are supporting PPGs in Dorset
We are keen to help PPGs grow and promote their work, so we have designed and developed a single identity for PPGs which practices across the county, and their groups are embracing. The ‘Have You Heard’ artwork has been incorporated into a wide range of promotional materials including posters, leaflets, z-cards and pull-up banners. These are available free of charge to practices and their groups. We have recently added editable online forms to the range of materials that are available.
Getting PPG members from across Dorset together.
We run four PPG networking conferences every year, two in each side of the county. These are popular events and usually receive great feedback. They provide opportunities for patient groups to come together, exchange ideas and learn from one another. Guest speakers provide important NHS updates and there are opportunities to participate in a variety or workshops. We publicise these meetings widely and anyone who is a member of a PPG, or who would like to find out more, is welcome to attend. Look out for information about our next events which we will appear here and on our social media feeds or you can sign up to our Health Involvement Network, to receive our FEEDBACK bulletin which also promotes other opportunities to get involved. Our next meetings will be held on 16 and 17 November. You can book your place at these events here.
Helping PPGs to network locally
To help in developing a stronger network of PPGs across Dorset, we are working to bring the Chairs or representatives of individual PPGs together in their localities. Our North Dorset locality PPGs already do this very successfully, meeting every 3 months to share information, support and learn from one another at a very local level.
If you’d like an update on the progress we are making in your area or would like to find out more, please contact email@example.com
Staff support for PPGs
Each GP practice will have a PPG contact who will be responsible for working and communicating with their group. This is often the practice manager but could equally be another member of the practice team.
NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group also has officers dedicated to working with practices to support the development of PPGs. If you’d like to get in touch with any of these officers, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org