Patient Participation Encouraged

Blackpool residents are being encouraged to get involved with the running of their GP practice and wider NHS services across the town.

NHS Blackpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and local GPs want more people to become members of the Patient Participation Group (PPG) at their surgery.

A PPG is a number of registered patients who work in partnership with GPs and practice staff to make sure that services continually improve to meet the needs of patients.

The groups also provide practical support in the surgery, foster improved communication between the practice and its patients and help patients to take more responsibility for their health.

The activity of each PPG varies but quite often includes the following:

  • Improving communication with other patients through newsletters, websites and other means.
  • Organising health awareness events in partnership with the practice.
  • Fundraising to improve facilities and update or purchase new equipment.
  • Provide regular feedback on services and share patients’ experiences

Dr Amanda Doyle, a Blackpool GP and Chief Clinical Officer at NHS Blackpool CCG said: “Patient Participation Groups (PPGs) are a really important aspect of how a GP practice works. They are a key feature of practice development, as patients are able to share their feedback and views on their experiences, which in turn provides valuable insight for practices to look for improvements or assess what is working well.

“PPGs are an important resource in improving quality and I would encourage more people to become members of the PPG at their practice.  Anybody can get involved in this.  If you are interested, please contact your practice for more details.”

In addition to making sure that the service their GP practice provides is of the highest quality for all patients, PPGs also work closely with the CCG to provide a voice for patients in relation to other NHS services through the Blackpool PPG Network. So far this has included gathering views and input into tackling cancer, introducing new models of care and aligning policies and procedures across the county for providing certain specialist treatments.

Terry Bennett is a member of the Newton Drive Health Centre Patient Participation Group and also Co-Chairs the PPG Network meetings. He said: “The PPG is a natural extension of what I have been doing for most of my life.  I have been involved in Voluntary work and working in the community since my teenage years in the 1950’s.

“The Patient Participation Group offers up new areas where we could look at the needs of the people and see what we can do to ensure that those needs are met.  These needs are constantly changing, constantly evolving and therefore giving us a constant challenge, a chance to make a difference.”

If you would like to find out more about the PPG at your GP practice or find out how you can get involved simply ask the reception staff. Most PPGs meet in person at regular intervals to decide how to help make a positive contribution to the services and facilities offered by the practice to its patients.

However, some GP practices have ‘virtual’ PPGs which run alongside a core PPG. These virtual groups are made up of members who wish to be involved but struggle to dedicate enough time for regular meetings. They are often kept informed of matters arising via email.