Patients are being encouraged to sign up to their local Patient Participation Group (PPG) and work in partnership with their GP surgery to help improve healthcare.
As part of the first ever PPG Awareness Week (1-8 June), more members are being sought across West Leicestershire to help support their local GP practice. PPGs are made up of volunteers who are interested in healthcare, as well as practice staff, and meet regularly to make a positive contribution to the health services and facilities offered by the surgery to its patients.
Out of the 50 GP surgeries across in West Leicestershire, 46 have their own PPGs. One such group is Park View Patients’ Group in Loughborough and chairman Lynne Drewery is especially proud of the contribution the group makes following the national recognition it has received by coming in the final six of an award scheme to find the best PPG in the country. The award competition is run by the National Association for Patient Participation (NAPP).
“Although we did not win, to be in the top six in the whole of the UK is a fantastic achievement and a wonderful reflection of all the hard work the group has done and continues to do on behalf of patients,” she said.
Since starting two years ago, the group has gone from strength to strength with 13 members who attend monthly meetings at the practice and many more ‘virtual members’ who have their say via email. Members regularly attend the surgery to encourage other patients to join the group and to listen to any concerns they may have.
Lynne added: “The practice is wonderfully supportive of the work that we do and we work together very closely. At the moment we are trying to encourage people not to order medication that they won’t use or don’t need anymore. We also help to distribute patient surveys, as well as hosting themed coffee mornings on health issues such as diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), where we get experts along to give advice to patients.
“We will be visiting the practice every day during PPG Awareness Week and encouraging other patients to join us in help to make a difference. For me the group is a wonderful way to give something back to the practice which has been so helpful to me and my family.”
Park View Surgery’s practice manager Sue Melling commented: “We are very grateful for all the hard work of the group and really value the contribution of its members who are helping us to make the practice the very best that it can be.”
Dr Chris Trzcinski, deputy chairman of West Leicestershire Clinical Commissioning Group added: “We think PPGs are a great way for patients to have their say on how their local GP surgery services can be made even better and we would encourage as many people as possible to get involved and help make a difference to their local community. To find out more patients should ask their GP practice if they have a PPG, or if they don’t have one they could ask about setting one up.”