Fylde and Wyre residents are being urged to become more involved with healthcare by joining the Patient Participation Group (PPG) at their GP practice.

NHS Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is supporting PPG Awareness Week (2-7 June) and encouraging more people to join a PPG and share their feedback to help improve services for all patients.

PPGs are groups of patients interested in health and healthcare issues who want to get involved with and support the running of their local GP practice. Most PPGs, which also include members of practice staff, meet at regular intervals to decide how to help make a positive contribution to the services and facilities offered by the practice to its patients. Some practices also have ‘virtual’ PPGs to run alongside a core PPG. These virtual groups are made up of members who wish to be involved but struggle to dedicate enough time for regular meetings. They are often kept informed of matters arising via email.

Working with the GP practice is the main purpose of PPGs, but they also help the CCG to understand what patients need, want and think about services, from broad topics like quality, to specific issues such as A&E attendance or how specific conditions are treated.

The activities of PPGs vary but quite often they include the following:

  • Improving communication with the practice population through newsletters, websites and other means
  • Organising health promotion events in partnership with the practice
  • Providing strategic advice, influencing commissioning and carrying out research
  • Supporting the practice in its dealings with other bodies

There are already a number of active PPGs within Fylde and Wyre. You can read more about these and their achievements by visiting www.fyldeandwyreccg.nhs.uk.

Kevin Toole, lay member for patient involvement and participation at the CCG, said: “Listening to good and sometimes bad experiences of patients is crucial if we are to make sure that the services we commission are effective and of the right quality. We want to engage with as many people as possible. The more people we listen to, the more likely we are to improve services and meet the needs of local residents.

“PPGs are a crucial vehicle for hearing the voice of patients and helping us to make improvements when required. The PPG chairs and members across the area do a brilliant job. Their hard work and dedication to local health services is never underestimated by all at the CCG.

“It is important PPGs are truly representative and I would really encourage more people to get involved at their surgery, whether young or old. We are committed to finding innovative ways to engaging with as many people as possible in the Fylde and Wyre area. A virtual PPG membership is a great starting point to get more involved if you feel like you can’t dedicate enough time or effort to a core PPG.”

If you would like to join your practice’s PPG please ask a member of reception staff for more details.