Are you interested in finding out how your GP practice works and about the health services it delivers? Your practice(s) patient participation group (PPG) or PCN patient group could be for you.
Patient participation groups work in partnership with their GP practice and are vital in ensuring that the patient voice is heard. Groups work in different ways, some meet in person, others communicate with their practice online – all are keen to welcome and involve new members.
GP practice patient groups provide an opportunity for local people to get involved with their practice and influence the provision of local health services. Members contribute their views, make suggestions and provide feedback on services they may have used. Groups can also get involved with supporting local health initiatives. In some areas. patient groups to come together in their local areas or across Primary Care Networks to share good practice, to discuss health issues and raise concerns.
We also host quarterly people panels which are spaces for meaningful conversation and listening in your area. They are hosted quarterly and allow you to bring forward topics and themes that are important to you.
If you are interested in finding out more about your own PPG, talk to your practice reception team, look on their website or contact us at involve.
Highlights from PPGs
Jennifer Bateman, PPG Chair, said: “Sycamore House is a small surgery in Walsall that was used as COVID-19 vaccination hub, and the PPG members have provided volunteer opportunities assisting patients attending for their vaccinations.”
Lauren Smith, Practice Manager, said: “The PPG volunteers were an enormous help to the practice when we needed hands and volunteers to run the COVID-19 vaccine hub, without them, the patient vaccination process would have been a lot more difficult to manage.
"The PPG volunteers would guide patients through the building throughout the day which was needed, or patients would have been getting lost!
"PPG volunteers also helped on the GP practice car park to organise the traffic. Without their help with traffic management, there could have potentially been quite a few accidents. The volunteers were vital to the GP practice during the COVID-19 vaccinations.”
Walsall West One PCN hosted an informal information session to educate patients about ARRS roles available in their surgery and how they may benefit patients’ additional needs.
Patients were invited to the event through Accurx messaging service by asking them to reply to the attendance form. In addition, a poster was placed in each of the six practices across the PCN.
In attendance were the PCN manager, clinical director, health and wellbeing team (care coordinators, health wellbeing coach, social prescribers, and GP assistant), and first contact practitioner. Each had time to explain their role and how they are accessible and what they can help with.
All the patients in attendance had previously not been aware of these additional roles within their GP surgeries and helped the PCN with suggestions to make the roles more visible in practices with information on websites and noticeboards.
The PCN will do similar events in the future and invite the patients to put forward suggestions of what they’d like to hear about. Suggestions included healthy eating and cooking tips and physical activity.
Brierley Hill and Amblecote Primary Care Network (PCN), in partnership with Active Black Country and the Canal and River Trust, have organised Walks with a Healthcare Professional during June, July and August. The walks have taken place in local countryside settings, using the canal networks and scenery to host these walks in various areas around the Primary Care Network area. Participants have benefitted from having a GP, mental health nurse or other healthcare professional on the walks to answer questions or just to give support.
Being outdoors and keeping active has lots of health benefits such as assisting with social isolation, mental health, keeping active and making new friends.
The involvement team joined two of the walks at the Delph Lock on the 8 June when it was launched and on 7 July, which was a walk with a mental health nurse, supported by the social prescribers from the PCN.
There were approximately 30 people who joined the walk on 7 July, which was a great turnout. The walkers, with varying abilities walked down from the Tenth Lock pub along the tow path to Brettell Lane bridge and back again. There was lots of wildlife and chatter along the walk. Everyone got the chance to talk to one another and even went for a coffee after the walk. Some people struggled with their own mental health and it was a fantastic achievement to see so many people who had made the effort to come along to the walk which materialised into their own achievement at getting out of the house and walking.
For further information, watch the walk with a healthcare professional video on Youtube or email dihc.
We would like to thank NHS Dorset ICB for helping us to shape this webpage and allowing us to use some of their resources.