Good Practice in Patient Participation Groups

Our local offices support Patient Participation Groups (PPGs) across Scotland so that they are an effective way for medical practices to engage with their patients and local communities. Here are some examples of good practice that we know of.

Has your PPG got other good examples to share? Get in touch and let us know!

 Involving people

Involving people

The most effective groups involve patients and members of the local community in a meaningful way, rather than operating primarily or solely as a small forum for GPs or the Practice Manager to discuss ideas. Lay representatives chaired about half of the groups surveyed, or had another active role within the group.

 Engaging communities

Engaging with communities

PPGs are doing a lot of work to engage with or help their communities. Young people have been recruited from local schools to join groups and to take discussions back to their classmates. One PPG holds its meetings in a local care home in order to widen access to the group. Several PPGs run a patient transport scheme in remote and rural areas with the help of local voluntary groups. Some PPGs organise events, galas and fairs, or attend those organised by others, to promote healthy lifestyles and to inform the local community about the work of the group.

 Collecting feedback

Collecting feedback

PPG members and practice staff jointly develop paper-based and online surveys to gather feedback from patients. Some PPG members sit with patients in surgery waiting rooms to help them to complete the forms. Other PPGs have surveyed the wider community – visiting local schools, fitness classes and clubs such as the British Legion to get feedback from particular groups.

Following a survey most PPGs work with the practice to come up with a set of actions or recommendations. Some PPGs have followed this up by re-surveying people a year or two later, to see what has changed as a result.

 Making use of technology

Making use of technology

Many PPGs have a section on the practice website which is kept up-to-date with recent minutes of meetings and news and other relevant information. Some groups have started to use social media, including Facebook and Twitter, to share information about their work. A number of PPGs have recorded short videos to describe how their work helps the practice and their community. One group raised funds to provide a tablet for conducting online surveys and also paid for wifi and a printer so that patients could access information about their condition in the practice.

 Promotion and sharing information

Promotion and information sharing

PPGs help to share information in a variety of ways, including taking responsibility for a noticeboard in the practice which can be used to display minutes and agendas of meetings. One PPG worked with patients and practice staff to develop a leaflet to help patients understand how to order their prescriptions online. Another created a "You Said/We Did" display which described how feedback from patients had been used to improve services.

 Fundraising

Fundraising

A small number of PPGs in Scotland are engaged in fundraising for new initiatives or equipment for their practice. Examples of how this has been done include holding a coffee morning and allowing local artists to display their artwork for a small fee. Fundraising events are also an opportunity for the PPG to recruit new members.