Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) is supporting the first National Patient Participation Awareness Week (1-8 June) and calling on people from across the county to take the opportunity to have a say in how services at their local doctors’ surgery, are delivered. Patient Participation Groups (PPGs) are groups of active volunteer patients who, via regular meetings with practice staff and GPs, provide feedback on the services offered and how improvements can be made for the benefit of all.
Gathering patients’ perspective of services in this way allows GP practices to keep track of what works at the surgery and what doesn’t. It also gives patients a channel through which to pass on comments and suggestions to OCCG about the other health services in their areas.
Jeremy Hutchins, a member of Goring and Woodcote Surgery’s PPG, said: ‘I have been actively involved in my patient group since it was formed in 2007. In the last two years we have worked together to achieve the following improvements:
- Pairing of doctors to improve continuity of care for patients (i.e. if one doctor is not available then a known doctor in the pairing would see the patient).
- Working to establish a self-care programme for minor ailments to free up more GP appointments for serious cases
- Improved communications through regular contribution to the local newspapers and introducing digital information screens in the surgeries
- Providing support for the production of a carers’ information leaflet
I believe patients can make a difference to how health services are run, and would encourage anyone to enquire with their surgery on how to join their PPG’.
Professor Louise Wallace, OCCG’s lay member for patient participation and engagement, said: “Patients must be at the heart of decision making about their care, and their views are important to shaping services for themselves and others. If you’re interested in having a say in the way your local health services are delivered, getting involved with your practice’s PPG is a great place to start. Not only can joining or starting a group help to shape the delivery of services, many members also find that volunteering is a great way to meet new people and develop your own skills, and it is good for health and well-being. To find out more, get in touch with the practice manager at your GP surgery’.