Patients urged to join their local group

Published Thursday 29 May 2014

Patients in East Leicestershire and Rutland are being encouraged to get involved in helping to shape local health services ahead of Patient Participation Awareness Week (2-7 June).

Patient Participation Groups (PPGs) were established to give people a voice and empower them to help shape and improve the quality of local healthcare.

Dr Andy Ker, a GP and governing body member of East Leicestershire and Rutland Clinical Commissioning Group (ELR CCG), said: "PPGs are the eyes and ears of local GP practices. Because they are receiving the services we provide, they are ideally placed to bring new ideas and tell us where we're going wrong and where we can improve.

"PPGs have become even more important since GPs took over responsibility for commissioning local health services in April 2013, and the CCG directly supports and engages with the groups in its locality. By becoming a member, patients are able to suggest improvements and give health bosses feedback on services such as planned and emergency hospital care, community services and mental health and learning disability services.”

Patient Participation Awareness Week aims to promote the role and benefits of PPGs to patients, the public and health professionals, to create understanding of the value of true patient participation and encourage more people to get involved.

Alec Browne, a founding member of the Market Harborough and Bosworth Partnership PPG, talks about the value of being involved in a group.  He says: "We engage with medical centre staff to discuss real service improvements for patients - for example, our practice opened an on-site pharmacy after our patient research indicated that such a resource would be welcomed and supported.

"One way we engage with patients is by holding meet and greet sessions at the surgery to find out what they think about health services and to provide them with leaflets and information. We are also recruiting virtual members to gain views from a wider section of the community and we hope that PPG Awareness Week will encourage more patients to get involved." 

Dr Ker added: "Patients are often first to spot poor care and also have great ideas about how to make care better. PPGs are a great vehicle for giving our patients a voice and an opportunity to influence how local healthcare services are delivered.  They can also help other patients gain a greater understanding of the services provided by the surgery.  I hope that the awareness week will spark more people’s interest in joining their PPG, especially among our ‘hard to reach’ patients."

To find out how you can get involved with your local PPG, talk to your GP practice or visit