Generally made up of a group of volunteer patients, the Practice Manager and one or more of the GPs from the practice, PPGs meet on a regular basis to discuss the services on offer, and how improvements can be made for the benefit of patients and the practice.
The beauty of PPGs is that there is no set way in which they work - the work of each group entirely depends on local needs - but they all have the aim of making sure that their practice puts the patient, and improving health, at the heart of everything it does.
PPGs can play several roles in the practice, from carrying out research to understand the views of the wider patient population and offering feedback on the patient perspective, to helping the practice make the most effective use of its resources.
In addition to helping improve communication between the practice and the local population it serves, PPGs offer practical hands-on support to the practice; for example, by helping to run health promotion events and supporting annual flu jab clinics.
Being involved in the PPG gives you the opportunity to have a say in and, what’s more, to act to improve, the way health services are delivered in the community. The PPG has a key role in increasing the quality and accessibility of the care available to you, your family, your neighbours and the whole of your community.
It’s a great way to give something back, and many members get a real buzz from having helped make important changes to the practice. It’s also a great way to meet new people and learn new skills, including diplomacy and team work.
We meet on a [insert timings here e.g monthly] basis at the practice for [an hour] over a cup of tea, to discuss forthcoming activity and address issues that have been raised by members of the group or other patients. We exist primarily to provide a link between the patients and practice staff, and to help make sure the needs of all sections of the community are met. [Insert details of the work of your PPG.]
[Example text – edit as appropriate.] Since the group formed, it has successfully helped introduce more flexible opening hours so patients can book appointments and drop off repeat prescription requests at times that suit them, rather than just during office hours. We also help the annual winter flu jab clinic run smoothly, by making the experience as easy and stress free as possible, especially for our elderly patients.
When our group formed, it drew up terms of reference, which sets out exactly what our aims and objectives are. Having terms of reference helps keep us focused on action and making a real difference, rather than becoming a talking shop. In order to ensure that everyone is focused on making positive change, we make sure all members have equal input, and have established a collaborative culture with the practice, and between the members.
The time commitment for a patient involved in the PPG tends to include attendance at [monthly] meetings. Some PPG members will choose to take on additional roles that are more time consuming, such as editing/contributing to the PPG newsletter or setting up and running health education or fundraising events. This additional contribution allows the PPG to have more of a positive impact on the practice and the local population.
It is unusual for any payment to be involved, as individuals tend to join on a voluntary basis.
Not at all, in fact no formal training is required to be a member of the PPG. Members can often bring their own skills to the task (for example, any writing experience can be helpful in developing and contributing to a PPG newsletter), but most importantly they just need to be keen and focused on taking positive action to help the practice and the local patient population.
If you are interested in joining the PPG or would like to speak to someone to find out more, you can complete the online form - Join our PPG, or leave your details at reception and a member of the group will give you a call.