Blog by Dr Kate Moore at Hampton Wick Surgery
Are you interested in helping to shape NHS services provided at your local GP practice?
GP practices are based at the heart of communities across the borough and they are keen to involve patients in helping to make their health services even better.
Ask at your GP practice and you will probably find they have a patient participation group (PPG), which empowers members to take more responsibility for their health and acts as the link between patients, doctors, nurses and the other staff who work there.
PPGs are made up of patients just like you and have an important role to play as they help shape the local NHS services that the Richmond community use and rely on. They meet regularly – either virtually or face-to-face –and work with practice staff and GPs to continuously improve the services and facilities. Examples of changes prompted by local PPGs could include improvements to waiting areas, communication issues and general housekeeping.
PPGs also provide feedback to staff on how the practice is working from the patient's perspective, so improvements can be made. My practice - Hampton Wick Surgery - has an active patient participation group which produces a regular newsletter which is displayed in the practice and published on our website.
One example of an action undertaken by our PPG group following concerns raised by patients about privacy, led to our sofa by the reception desk being removed to free up space. The group also created a sign to ask patients to wait away from the desk until a receptionist is free. This small change has made a huge difference and has been well received by our patients.
NHS Richmond Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is supporting the development of the practice-based groups by running a PPG network across the borough of Richmond. This is an opportunity for representatives from each practice PPG to share ideas, discuss latest updates to NHS services and hear about the work that is being done to improve healthcare in the area.
The comments the CCG receives from the network are really useful as part of our role of gathering patient feedback and taking it into account when planning and commissioning (buying) local health services.
So why not take action now and find out more about becoming a member of your practice's patient participation group? Ask a member of staff for further details and the meeting dates.