Practices are contractually required to establish and maintain a patient participation group (PPG) - and make reasonable efforts for this to be representative of the patient population.
The purpose of the PPG is to ensure that patients and carers are involved in decisions about the range, shape and quality of services provided by their practice. The contract requirement aims to promote the proactive and innovative engagement of patients and carers through the use of effective PPGs and to act on a range of sources of patient and carer feedback
It is a contractual requirement for all practices:
- to develop and maintain a PPG that gains the views of patients and carers and enables the practice to obtain feedback from the practice population.
- to make reasonable efforts for the PPG to be representative of the practice population.
- to engage with the PPG at a frequency and manner agreed with the group.
- to review patient feedback with the aims of the practice and PPG agreeing on improvements that could be made to services.
- to act on suggestions for improvements where the practice and PPG agree.
Practices must declare in the annual electronic practice self declaration that they have fulfilled these requirements.
Reviewing patient feedback
Using a variety of sources the practice and PPG should identify areas of priority. These are likely to include themes from:
- patient and carer priorities issues
- themes from complaints and suggestions
- planned practice changes
- patient surveys
- CQC-related issues
- the Friends and Family Test
- working with local commissioners
- views from local voluntary and community groups, including local Healthwatch.
Developing an action plan
The practice and PPG should agree clear priorities for improvement. An action plan could include ways in which the PPG will contribute to any improvements.
Practices are recommended to produce a clear action plan, in the form of a report, which the PPG and practice can use as evidence to show that feedback has been taken on board and the PPG properly engaged.
Practices must keep the PPG up to date on progress on any agreed actions. They should also consider sharing their experiences wit the wider practice population, commissioners, the local Healthwatch and voluntary groups.
- If you are struggling to make your PPG representative, consider inviting local representatives from national organisations (eg Diabetes UK) to put forward the views of larger groups.
- Inviting new patients to join the PPG at the point of registration helps to reach patients who attend infrequently.
- Encourage two-way dialogue, for example, by asking for feedback on changes the practice has implemented; likewise, monitor PPG-suggested changes implemented on an ongoing basis.
- The ideal number of PPG members is eight to 10.
- Schedule meetings for between 1.5 and 2 hours (and provide healthy refreshments)
- Define aims with practice colleagues first and circulate the agenda to PPG members in advance of meetings.
- Make use of 'virtual meetings' using email to obtain feedback and ideas.
Also see the Medeconomics article: How to make the most of your PPG
- Creating a PPG - getting started guide (including a sample contact form)