Patient Participation Group 

A statement follows from the Chairman, Argyle Medical Group PPG

Patient Participation Groups (PPGs) are an important and established means of helping general practices to be responsive to the needs of their community and to continuously improve the delivery of health services locally.

The present Patient Participant Group Committee at AMG, evolved from an existing surgery access liaison committee. This consisted of nominated representatives from local councils and county council, but has now extended to non-council patient representatives.

The committee is supported by the Surgery and at every meeting one of the senior partners is in attendance along with the Practice Manager and representatives from the Health Board and the Community Health Council (CHC).

One of the key features of a PPG is the patient experience and looking to see how that experience can be improved.

However the PPG is not a forum for making complaints but in many circumstances PPGs often lead to a reduction in the number of complaints overall.

For little over 18 months the PPG committee have been settling in to their new role but are now looking to move into a new phase where the committee is looking to engage with patients with a view to them becoming involved and for them to have their say.

So how can a PPG help the patient experience? We are currently looking at and reviewing the following areas :

    1. Improving the appointment system. This is an on-going problem in most GP surgeries, but the surgery has been very proactive in attempting to improve the situation.

    2. Failure to turn up for appointments is another area of concern and the surgery, in conjunction with the PPG are working very hard to reduce the number of “no shows”.

    3. Use of better technology – the PPG have a page on the surgery website and are also looking if social media, Facebook and Twitter can improve the patient experience.

Members of the PPG regularly attend PPG seminars meeting other committee members from other PPGs within the Hywel Dda Board area. These meetings are very useful in that it gives opportunities to meet and discuss similar challenges.

Patient Participation Groups come under the umbrella of the National Association for Patient Participation (NAPP).

The Association are keen to support the work of existing PPGs and actively encourage more practices to set up groups. Argyle Practice PPG is determined that it will succeed and are continually looking at new ideas in order to make that happen.

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