The aim of the practice Patient Representative Group is to promote good communication between patients, management and health care professionals in the surgery. It can, at different times, represent the patient population to the practice, and the practice to the wider community. The purpose, establishment and benefits of this type of group is described very well on the National Association for Patient Participation website:
“PPGs are about implementing real, positive change in their communities. Patients have long valued the relationship with their GP and general practice. However the dynamics of this relationship have changed over recent years – patients today rightly want more say in their own healthcare, they are better informed and expect to be treated as whole people, not just as a condition or ailment.
PPGs have an increasingly important role to play in helping to give patients a say in the way services are delivered to best meet their needs, and the needs of the local community.
PPGs can help GPs to develop an equal partnership with their patients. They can help them to communicate accurately and honestly with individual patients, and with the wider community about key health matters. They can also help to reduce costs and improve services by identifying changes that the practice may not have considered, allowing resources to be used more efficiently. What is more, they can develop mutually supportive networks for patients and the practice, outside of individual appointments”.
We are very enthusiastic about the group because we can see that it will be good for patients, practice staff and the community. It will be…
Good for patients because:
- Patients will be consulted about arrangements for their primary healthcare before decisions are made.
- Patients will benefit from improved communications with staff.
- Patients will have a forum to suggest positive ideas and voice concerns.
- Patients will have a better understanding and knowledge of the practice and its staff.
- Patients will be more responsible for their own health.
Good for practice staff because:
- GPs and their staff will be able to plan services jointly with patients in order to increase their effectiveness.
- They will be able to help patients with non-medical and social care issues.
- They will be able to get help from patients in meeting targets and objectives.
- They will have a forum to voice concerns, ideas and suggestions to patients.
- They will get closer to the community for whom they care.
Good for the community because:
- Patients will have an organisation through which they can identify their own needs.
- Patients will be able to get an idea of what is needed to improve healthcare, and make sure that the patient view is always represented.
- Patients will maintain an open dialogue with GPs and other healthcare professionals.
- Patients will have an opportunity to become involved in other community initiatives such as their Local Involvement Network (LINk) and their Practice Based Commissioning organisation.