All GP Practices in England are expected to have in place a patient participation group (PPG) as part of meeting their contract with the tax payer.
NHS England believes GP Practices have an important role in explaining to the general public, not just patients, the coming changes to services and pressing health care issues. The health care budget will never meet demand and it is important the public understand the issues and can give informed views on priorities.
Ixworth Surgery formed a Patients Association (and pioneered the PPG concept) back in the early 1980’s to help fund equipment and run a taxi service for patients who could not get to the Surgery. Alas, over the years, only a couple of villages now send representatives to meetings or offer feedback.
With increasing workloads the partners have also become less inclined to spend time on educational events. The number of volunteer taxi drivers has also declined. Stanton has a PPG with regular education and feedback events but struggles to find members to represent young families. Also it has not been able to recruit staff or get permission to extend their building and believes they are under pressure from NHS England to merge or network with adjacent Practices.
If you are interested in the future of our local GP Surgeries and would like to provide feedback or ideas for educational events please contact me 01359 268082 or graeme@Lmrinternational.co.uk From Graeme Norris, West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group