All this week, Thurrock CCG is encouraging people to get involved with their local GP practice and is celebrating those who already work to improve services.
Between 1-6 June, it is Patient Participation Awareness Week, an annual celebration of the work that ordinary people do to enhance the services at their GP practice. As part of this national campaign, Thurrock CCG wants is encouraging Thurrock residents to join the Patient Participation Group at their local GP practice.
Patient Participation Groups (PPGs) are a forum for patients to communicate with GP practices. It also offers patients the opportunity to put forward their views and suggestions at regular meetings.
PPGs have been around for more than 40 years, but with the increasing challenges facing the health service, the patient voice is more important than ever. This is why Thurrock CCG is challenging every Thurrock resident to join their PPG.
PPGs can improve communication between the practice and its patients and allow patients to share their ideas. For example, one patient group suggested that their GP surgery set up a mobile phone text service for anyone who wished to cancel an appointment. This freed up the phone lines and also enabled practice staff to offer the appointment to another patient. Another patient group has organised health education evenings on specific health topics, which have proved to be very popular.
Len Green, NHS Thurrock CCG, is very passionate about the importance of the patient voice at the centre of health decisions. He said: "At some point or another everyone will be a patient and so it is important that we share our experiences and views on making care better. By joining a PPG you will be directly influencing healthcare decisions because a representative from every PPG is invited to the CCG's Commissioning Reference Group, which in turn feeds into the Governing Body process of the CCG. It's your NHS so why not have a say in how it affects you?"
To join a PPG, simply ask at your local GP Surgery.