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Patient power helps GPs give great care

29 May 2015

Patient Participation Awareness Week 1-6 June 2015

Patients and GPs in Bedfordshire are getting together in patient participation groups (PPG) to help local practices to improve services for local people and ensure that the voice of the patient is heard.

They are part of a national network of over 1,000 patient participation groups whose actions are being celebrated in National Patient Participation Week which runs from 1-6 June 2015.

A PPG is a group of patients and GP practice staff who meet regularly to discuss the services on offer and look at how improvements can be made to benefit patients and the practice.

At the local surgery in Putnoe in Bedfordshire, the PPG has been influential in helping the practice bring in a number of improvements:

• Patients can make an appointment up to four weeks in advance
• phone lines are open over lunch time
• a new on-line booking system for nurse and blood test appointments
• better quality of information in the waiting room
• a patient newsletter

Cheryl Green, member of the Putnoe PPG said:
“It is crucial for every GP practice to have an active PPG, to engage with and listen to their patients, and to respond appropriately to ensure that the services they provide meet their patients’ needs.
Joining their practice PPG is a good way to develop genuine, constructive dialogue between the patient and the GP practice.”
This year, the Government wants all GP surgeries to set up a PPG to encourage patients to be involved in improving the service from their local practice, and Bedfordshire GPs are already way ahead as the majority already have an established PPG.

Local GPs value the involvement of PPG members and their commitment to helping meet the needs of patients and understanding what is important to them. Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG) has produced a guide to help practices set up a new group or improve the way their current group works.

If you are interested in joining your local PPG, please speak to a staff member of your GP practice to find out more.

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