Patient Participation Group

The surgery has an active Patient Participation Group – usually referred to as the PPG. This comprises of a number of patients of the practice, just like you. Their role is to represent all patients and to discuss with the doctors and practice staff about issues that concern us all. This is a two-way dialogue and is important to help the practice develop and deliver its services in a way that meets patient’s needs. It is also helpful for patients to understand the issues and constraints that the practice has to meet and comply with.

The following sections are intended to give a broad overview about the principles of PPGs and how they work. Obviously, what is really important is what Bedworth Health Centre PPG does and there is a section about this.

What is Patient Participation Group (PPG)?

A PPG is a group of active volunteer patients from a specific practice, along with management representation and GP involvement where possible from that practice. This equal partnership working is essential to achieve high quality and responsive care that is tailored to the makeup of the local practice population. Research has shown that practices with a PPG have improved health outcomes amongst their patients.

Why are PPG’s important?

What we now call PPGs had existed in a few practices for many years, usually as a sort of semi-social group, possibly with some fund raising activities. However, as the NHS has developed a more patient-centred approach over the past 10 years or so, PPGs became to be seen as a useful tool in the principle of what is called ‘patient participation’. The idea is that the voice of the patient is as important in developing services as that of professionals.

Consequently, it is a contractual requirement for all English practices to have a PPG. They should be developed in an appropriate way so that they are representative of, structured to reach, and to encourage active, regular engagement of the practice’s population and demographic make-up. We are keen to ensure that our group is representative and that historically underrepresented and seldom heard groups, including patients with mental health conditions, disabilities and other ‘protected characteristics’ are part of our group. In addition, PPGs should also attempt to involve carers of registered patients (even if these carers are not registered at the Practice). The make-up of the PPG is aimed at being representative of the practice population and demographic as far as the arrangements of PPG meetings and correspondence will allow. PPGs have a key role to play in ensuring that patients and carers can influence local care services.

Bedworth Health Centre’s PPG

Bedworth Health Centre is very interested to know patient’s opinions on how we can improve our service and the way that the surgery and staff are perceived. The surgery is very fortunate to have a pro-active and helpful PPG which currently has about 14 regular members who meet at the surgery every two months. The meetings are also attended by the Business Manager, Reception Manager, Practice Secretary (to take minutes) and one or more Doctors. We consider that the working relationship between the PPG and the Practice is particularly effective and has been developed over a number of years. Since the merger of Dr Singh’s and Dr Reily’s practices in early 2017 the two separate PPGs have combined and this has proved very beneficial in meeting the new challenges. Some of the most recent activity of the Bedworth Health Centre PPG has included:

  • Prior to the merger in 2017, PPG members were present in the surgery on a regular basis to inform patients about the forthcoming merger
  • Developed leaflets and posters to support this
  • Provided feedback to practice management to enable them to plan accordingly
  • PPG members present on launch day and in the weeks following, to provide help and guidance to patients with the new arrangements and layout
  • Secured funding from Warwickshire County Council to commission two banner posters for the surgery waiting areas about the new arrangements
  • Undertook a patient survey in late 2017 with almost 1,000 responses; this informed certain issues, including those arising from the merger
  • The PPG Chair regularly attends two-monthly meetings with all other PPGs in North Warwickshire to network with the Clinical Commissioning Group and other health organisations, including George Eliot Hospital.

Their involvement in activities such as this is of significant benefit to, and is greatly appreciated by, the practice as their involvement enables these important tasks to be completed and allow the practice to use its resources in other areas which would otherwise be taken up by these tasks.

How does PPG work?

Whilst there is no defined and set way as to how PPGs should work, the typical arrangement is that they meet on a regular basis to discuss the service provided by the practice in question and what improvements could be made to benefit the wider patient population and the practice. PPGs may be virtual, face-to-face or a combination of the two. Dependent on the number of members it may be that an ‘organising committee’ is required to set up these two different groups. All PPGs should have a Constitution / Terms of Reference whilst a Chairperson and Secretary should also be appointed.

The workings of PPGs should be guided by local needs with the central aim of putting the patient, and improving health, at the heart of everything it does. Some groups often look beyond the immediate vicinity of the surgery to healthcare decisions that affect the community in which the surgery is based. PPGs advise the practice on its performance from a patient’s perspective, providing strategic input and advice, giving an insight into the responsiveness and quality of services that the practice delivers. In some instances PPGs also organise health promotion events and look at ways to improve health literacy amongst the practice’s population, in addition to encouraging patients to take greater responsibility for their own, and their family’s, health and wellbeing. PPGs also regularly communicate with the wider patient population, run volunteer services and support groups for the locality, carry out research on behalf of and into the Practice and conduct fundraising to improve the service provided by the Practice.

The PPG and Practice should work in conjunction to review feedback from sources such as Care Quality Commission (CQC) related issues, the NHS Friends & Family Test (F&FT) and local voluntary and community groups (e.g. Healthwatch). The Practice should engage with PPGs and aim to review and act on this feedback, considering areas for improvement. Based on the priorities for improvement identified from these sources of feedback, the Practice and PPG should come up with an action plan in the form of a report (to evidence appropriate involvement of the PPG from the Practice), what actions were taken to address these priorities and the changes made following these actions.

PPGs give patients a voice and allow constructive suggestions and ideas to reach the areas of the practice where change can be implemented. One of the reasons that PPGs operate is to provide practices with positive yet constructive feedback. They are intended to be a ‘critical friend’ to the practice, not to replace the formal complaints procedure.

How can you help?

Bedworth Health Centre is always actively on the lookout for new members of our PPG. To find out a little bit more about what membership entails please contact the surgery and ask to speak to Ross Chadwick, Reception Manager. If you wish, it may be advisable to speak to the Chair of the PPG. If you wish to speak to them please provide Ross with your contact details and consent to share these with the Chair. Ross will then pass these details to the Chair who will be in touch further. Following your enquiries, if you still wish to join the PPG, please complete the form via the below link, or alternatively download a copy of the ‘PPG Membership – Expression of Interest’ form, print it out and complete and then return it to the surgery, marked for Ross’s attention.

If you would like to provide feedback or make comment on aspects of the surgery, through the PPG, but don’t necessarily want to join the PPG, please provide Ross with your contact details and consent to share these with the PPG. Ross will then pass these details to the PPG and a member will be in touch to discuss further. As above, it must be stressed that the PPG is not a forum for complaints and these should be addressed to the Practice Manager using the normal channels.