Cookie policy notice

By continuing to use this site you agree to our cookies policy below:
Since 26 May 2011, the law now states that cookies on websites can ony be used with your specific consent. Cookies allow us to ensure that you enjoy the best browsing experience.

This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

It’s time we embraced the PPG – and not just because we’re being paid to

  • Print
  • Comments (4)
  • Rate
  • Save

You’re sitting in a partners’ meeting and scan the next item on the agenda: ‘PPG meeting feedback’. Do you have a sudden rush of adrenaline and sit up in your chair? Do you stay slumped, bracing yourself for fifteen torturous minutes? Or do you snort mockingly and pillory their latest idea to convert the spare cupboard into a soft play area?

If you’re a slumper or snorter, I’d suggest sitting up. Since 1 April this year, it has been a contractual obligation for practices to have a PPG, as well as being a CQC requirement. The funding of 35p per registered patient previously paid to practices for taking on the PPG DES has ceased and been reinvested in the global sum. 

Now I’m not suggesting that the PPG chair should suddenly be given office space and a free M&S sarnie at the Monday meeting. As a GP who attended his first PPG meeting in May, I can’t claim to be a committed groupie. It does, though, reflect the Government’s preoccupation with patient power: the trite concept that, as a patient, this is ‘your surgery, your NHS’.

So we’re being paid to run our PPGs. But do they serve any practical purpose?

My single experience last month was fairly absorbing. What struck me was that, without payment or perk, eight of our patients had ventured to the surgery, late in the evening, to improve our service.  Sceptics would say they’re bored jobsworths seeking an opportunistic chat with a GP about their Baker’s Cyst. But in reality, our lot were well-meaning, motivated and, above all, offering us much-needed help.

The abridged minutes as follows:

- John had represented the practice at a local patients’ meeting,which was largely indigestible.

- Jane wanted to raise awareness about inappropriate antibiotic use.

- Jeff felt the appointments system was better but suggested a couple of tweaks.

- Joyce was delighted that Julie had agreed to be carers’ champion. 

- Finally, Jim thanked the group for their petition which helped secure funding for our premises refurbishment. 

We briefly discussed PPG Awareness Week, which ran from 1-6 June this year. Organised by the National Association for Patient Participation, it concluded with their 37th annual conference in Leamington Spa. The NAPP are a serious set-up and crucially, they are huge advocates for GPs.  Even a quick glance at their website illustrates what they’re encouraging the public to do: ‘Put patients first, back general practice’. 

Perhaps it’s time the cynics sat up. At a time when we’re feeling smashed like protons in the Hadron Collider, rather than staggering on punch-drunk, let’s accept offers of help.  It’s time we all embraced the PPG - and not just because we’re being paid to. 

Dr Tom Gillham is a GP in Hertfordshire and specialty doctor in A&E. You can follow him @tjgillham.

Rate this blog  (2.44 average user rating)

Click to rate

  • 1 star out of 5
  • 2 stars out of 5
  • 3 stars out of 5
  • 4 stars out of 5
  • 5 stars out of 5

0 out of 5 stars

Readers' comments (4)

  • My first thought reading the above comment was it was a PPG member weighing in. Is scarily similar to some ive heard.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Some PPGs work very very hard in answer to the above comment. They also have the best interests of their surgeries at heart!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • some do , some don't
    it's SDDS or SSDD
    sort of what comes around goes around
    etc. etc. etc an nauseatum and again and again

    NB : I had , yes had to learn Latin...for seven ( 7 !!!?! years ......
    was really boring, mostly,
    'heroes' talkimg and debating how best to surrender and conquer countries yepp yepp...very frepetitive...very sort of boring...ad nauseatum....PRN

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • some kick ass- some think tis is never necessaryyyy
    (a not typo but tryimg to mimick German Accent .....- lets all not pronounce 'th' for a day or change it to a 'zzz'

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

  • Print
  • Comments (4)
  • Rate
  • Save