It is important to note that it isn’t always about how many people are on a PPG, or how diverse the membership is. Although it is important to have a good thriving PPG to support the work, it is key to ensure the PPG has the mechanisms in place to enable them to reach the wider patient voice and ensure this is fed into their work i.e., surveys, holding stands in waiting areas to collect comments and having one-off virtual sessions to discuss specific topics.
The following were tips received from network members with regard to how they have successfully recruited to their PPG:
• Link with the local senior school: One PPG works closely with the local senior school to recruit sixth form students. The students (1 or 2) are involved in the work of the PPG for a year before they go onto university/work. The PPG Chair contacts the lead teacher once a year who helps with the recruitment.
• Offer hybrid meetings: By offering hybrid meetings where people can meet face to face and/or can join in virtually too. This was felt to make the meetings less restrictive for people.
• Open evenings: One PPG explained their Practice had an open evening for people with a learning disability to understand how they could improve their experiences of the practice, the PPG had a stall at the event to promote the work of the PPG and recruit new members.
• Call for family and friends: One PPG put a call out to their friends and families to generate interest of joining the PPG
• Meet and greets sessions: One PPG explained they arranged to have a meet and greet session within the Practice through speaking with patients as they arrive for their appointments to explain what the role of a PPG is and to generate some interest
• Online mailing list: To encourage people to sign up to the ‘patient group’ mailing list, which enables people to get involved in topics that interest them and reduces the need for people to feel they need to participate on every subject/topic
• Newsletters/updates on the PPG: Create ways to update on the work on the PPG, to let them know what work the PPG is doing and encourage patients to sign up
• Patient Association: Recruitment, increasing diversity and communicating with the wider patient population
Here to Help role:
‘Here to Help’ role is a role undertaken by 5 PPG members who volunteer alongside the Practice reception each week (usually between 8 am and 10 am) to help patients to check-in using the self-check machine as well as using the height/weight/BP machines. The role also allows PPG members to collect comments/feedback about people’s experience of the Practice and suggestions for improvement, which is collected and fed through to the PPG meetings and the Practice Management Team.
Survey to hear from young families:
The PPG were keen to hear from parents with young families so they developed a form/survey and PPG volunteers doing the Here to Help work and receptionists had collected 50 responses from young mothers which fed into the work of the PPG. This was particularly important as young families are not represented on the PPG. The PPG secretary, leading the work, was collating the responses for consideration and discussion with the practice manager.
A PPG had also developed a Facebook group that it uses to communicate practice information, with a pinned post that offers a feedback form for general patient feedback, that is reviewed at PPG meetings with the practice manager.
Friends and family feedback:
One PPG has agreed with his Practice to receive the data from the Friends and Family Test on a quarterly basis. He explained their PPG reviews the feedback collected from the Family and Friends questionnaire which they discuss and create relevant action plans around. The data is via the accuryx patient messaging system which allows patients to text comments after their appointment. In terms of outcomes, provision of the data was crucial in assessing the practice’s performance over the past year and in receiving suggestions for improvements which will be incorporated in the PPG’s work plan for next year.
Survey to understand patient views on the appointment booking system:
One PPG is currently undertaking a PPG survey for appointment booking to gain a patient rating of the Practice and suggestions for improvements. The survey was shared via:
- Facebook: The PPGs Facebook pages, the Practice and in six other local Facebook pages
- Joined up Care Derbyshire (JUCD) shared on Nextdoor.
- Paper copies were available in the Practice’s waiting room (62 responses)
The grading was nearing good which is what was expected. However, we risked a free format section asking for suggestions for improvement. This elicited 122 comments! Of these some were complaints but there were also compliments. The comments have yet to be analysed.
Mechanisms to capture the wider patient voice
• Work with Social Prescribers at Coffee Mornings to try and start conversations about Health Issues.
The Derbyshire PPG Network is facilitated by Hannah Morton and is open to any PPG member who wishes to attend. We also have practice managers or other operational staff attending where they are the main contact for their PPG.
If you would like more information about the PPG Network, have examples of best practice or tip tips or would like to join the network please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The JUCD PPG Network was originally set up to bring together PPG Chairs and their members to understand what support is needed to help them engage and communicate with their Practice population and also to be a place for PPGs to learn and keep updated on the developments within the system. However, over the last 12 months, the network has undergone developments to ensure it is also a place where members can share learning and best practice. As part of this development, members wanted to hear from all PPGs across Derby and Derbyshire to:
- Understand what support is needed to help PPGs meaningfully communicate and engage with their Practice population.
- Provide an assessment/baseline of the status of patient engagement in a GP Practice/PPG.
- Identify where good practice engagement might be found.
- To provide the JUCD Public Partnership Committee with an assessment of engagement in PPGs. The Public Partnership Committee sits below the ICB and the Integrated Care Partnership (ICP). It is designed to assess risk and seek assurance in relation to the delivery of statutory duties to inform, involve and consult patients and members of the public.