Patients are a virtue for local health services

Patients are a virtue for local health services

29th May 2014

Patient Participation Groups (PPGs) in West Leicestershire are encouraging members of the community to get involved in helping to shape local health services ahead of Patient Participation Awareness Week (2-7 June).

Made up of working groups of volunteer patients, PPGs give ordinary people a voice and empower them to help shape and improve the quality of GP care and ensure healthcare services are responsive to patient needs and priorities.

PPGs in the county have got involved in a range of activities to engage and support their communities and GP practice including: establishing a patient befriending service to visit patients in their own homes; working to reduce GPs ‘do not attend’ appointment rates; talking to local patients about and providing information on long term conditions; and running campaigns such as raising awareness of flu vaccinations.

Professor Mayur Lakhani, chairman of West Leicestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “PPGs are all about putting patients first. By becoming involved in your local PPG, patients are able to suggest improvements and give health bosses their feedback on services such as planned and emergency hospital care, community services and mental health and learning disability services.

Liz Wells, from the Quorn Medical Centre PPG, said: “I believe PPGs are invaluable in giving the patient a voice. Our PPG champions health awareness campaigns and organises events on a range of conditions such as ovarian cancer, and Alzheimer’s, with speakers who can answer questions and signpost people to appropriate services. We’ve had great feedback from the patients who attend, and we want to encourage more people to get involved with their PPG group and  help make sure the patient experience is as good as it can be.”

Professor Lakhani, who is also a West Leicestershire GP added: “PPGs have become even more important to us since GPs took over responsibility for commissioning local health services in April 2013, and successful practices and active PPGs go hand in hand.

“They help to influence how we plan primary care, as well as helping us to communicate self-care messages to fellow patients and raise awareness of lifestyle, wellbeing and treatment options.

“Patients are often first to spot poor care and also have great ideas about how to make care better. PPGs are a crucial way of breaking down barriers and harnessing the voice of the patient in primary care, and have much to contribute in driving up quality.”

To find out how you can get involved with your local PPG, talk to your GP practice or click here