Patient Participation Groups

Patient Participation Groups have a key role to play as they help ensure that patients and carers can influence their local care services. It is vital that every patient and carer is aware that that a Patient Group exists in their GP surgery, what it’s for and how they can get involved and make sure that their views are heard and responded to.

We want all Patient Groups to draw on the experience and views of patients and carers to work with GPs and other staff in a positive way as equal partners and as a useful resource for the practice. The Patients Association is working with patients and local people to ensure their ideas and experiences influence this project and how Patient Groups develop in the future as well as reaching wider numbers and different types of patients.

With the continuing desire to improve services and new requirements for GP Practices to carry out the Friends and Family test and inspections by the Care Quality Commission, Patient Groups have a still more important role to play. Acting as critical friends rather than as complaints forums they can offer practical suggestions on topics such as waiting areas, waiting times and phone messages. Other roles might include providing information to patients and the local community, health promotion activities such as health fairs, condition-specific support groups plus many news ideas which patients may have.

Patient Involvement

A number of projects have been focused on helping organisations to develop or improve their engagement and co-productive ways of working. This can be about recruiting to formal structures such as Patients Council and training those volunteers in use of the previously mentioned tools (suitably adapted as appropriate). It is important that organisations engage with their whole population and so some projects have included focus on engaging with seldom heard groups such as carers of people with dementia, Asian Muslim women, homeless people, Gypsy Travelers and Afro-Caribbean men.

Others have worked on specific areas such as producing a model of commissioning with full engagement of local communities.

Some of the projects in this category include:

  • Setting up and supporting the Patient Council – Patient Council established with robustly recruited members who are trained to use various tools.
  • Hear to care – used community reporting with all population groups and a ‘top tips for co-production’ film was produced, involving patients and carers in commissioning using research evidence – run jointly with CCG and a university.
  • Development of patient leader programme and involve the local community in owning their hospital – 4 work streams developed in co-production with local community, patient leaders and structure for sustainability will emerge through the delivery of change.
  • Developing Patients Experience Measures and Always Events – commissioned by NHS England East Midlands Area Team.
  • Development of Patient Participation Groups in GP practices – across 230 practices in Devon and Cornwall commissioned by NHS England Area Team – information pack, workshops, working with Plymouth University – framework for student involvement and patient mentors.

PPG Support Pack

Toolkit to help set up and run Patient Participation Groups

Every general practice should now have a Patient Participation Group (PPG), acting as a link with the people it serves and as a ‘critical friend’. Roles might include advising on the quality and responsiveness of services, carrying out research and supporting self-care.

But how do you set up and run a PPG? Who should be involved? And what are their roles and responsibilities?

The Patients Association and Londonwide LMCs have co-produced a toolkit to help answer all these questions. It also includes resources such as checklists, template posters and ‘easy read’ material.

The toolkit(s) and briefings below are based on a short series of workshops delivered by the Patient Engagement Project in spring 2017. They are designed to be practical and accessible for practice teams and their PPG members.

Setting the Future Framework for your Patient Participation Group can be downloaded here 

There are a number of useful resources within the pack, which have been highlighted in the contents page below:

  1. Introduction and context
  2. Why review your Patient Participation Group
  3. What makes a PPG effective?
  4. What should your PPG review focus on? 
  5. Who should be involved in the review of your PPG?
  6. What are your top three priorities for action? 
  7. Action planning
  8. Patient Participation Group Action Plan
  9. Communicating your priorities and action plan
  10. Communicating with a wider audience so they know what you’ve done!
  11. Repeat and review the action planning process

We look forward to hearing from you!

Devon & Cornwall

Please read a summary of our work with Patient Groups in Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly here.

PPG Development video

What do children think about GP services?

Waltham Forest

We have also commenced a new Patient Participation Group project in Waltham Forest, with 44 GP Practices.

To be updated soon.

PPG Data Development

The Patients Association in collaboration with NHS England, organised a Patient Participation Group (PPG) Data workshop which took place on April 12th 2016. This consisted of PPG chairs from around the country, practice managers and members of the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

PPG NHSEGen Ford, Chair of her local PPG talks about how PPGs can make use of data

The purpose was to identify how patient groups could make better use of patient feedback data and to provide a potential pilot for a new approach to influence service development in primary care.

The workshop was held to scope the issues surrounding data within a PPG setting and how patients and practices could utilise such information for their benefit.

If you’re interested in becoming involved with this, please email

Working with Plymouth University

The School of Nursing and Midwifery are delighted to be working closely with the Patients’ Association to look at ways in which we can develop sustainability for patient engagement.

Read More

Patient Participation Group Conference 2015

The Patients Association and Plymouth University held a jointly organised conference to celebrate the success of a one year development project across 230 GP practices in Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly funded by NHS England. Over 130 participants took part with some excellent speakers and workshops. The conference was also an opportunity to evaluate the first stage of a student nurse pilot project linking 25 nursing students to PPGs. This is the start of an exciting new initiative which will have mutual benefits for PPGs and students.


“It has been a wonderful experience and the turnout was fantastic.”


Kevin Holton from NHS England poses with Nikki Thomas (NHS England), Director of Development Heather Eardley (Patients Association), Chief Executive Katherine Murphy (Patients Association), and Dr Mike Dixon (Chairman of NHS Alliance).

Conference Awards 2015

As part of the PPG project the PA made a number of awards at the PPG conference to recognise excellent practice and innovation.

There were 5 categories with winners listed as follows:

1) Identifying the main concerns of patients – Rolle PPG- Exmouth
2) Changes made as a consequence of your PPG – Lewannick Project – Carnewater PPG
3) Raising awareness about health – Graham Road Surgery – Weston Supermare, N Somerset
4) Communicating the work of your PPG – Tamar Valley PPG
5) Involving local schools and colleges – Woodbury , Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton PPGs ( WEB Network of PPGs)

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 Patient Participation Group Conference 2016


The Patients Association held a second collaborative conference jointly with Plymouth University, last week. Over 100 participants took part in the conference, consisting of patients, students and healthcare professionals.

The conference aimed to build on the successesfrom the Patient Participation Group project we ran during 2014-15, and the growing emphasis on patient engagement by Plymouth University particularly in the nursing and medical school curriculum. This was an opportunity to network and share ideas and experiences between patients, staff and students.

The focus was on ‘Working together in practice’ and the need for growth in patient and public involvement. Presentations were given by Heather Eardley, (Patients Association) and Sam Regan De Bere (Plymouth School of Medicine and Dentistry), about the new “Working together” guide. They also discussed a short animated film that has been produced as a joint project with Health Foundation funding. The guide is a culmination of comprehensive literature reviews and consultations which aim to assist healthcare professionals and regulators and training to better understand how to encourage patient involvement.

As well as a panel discussion, a number of workshops were held. This included a Patient Participation Group (PPG) data workshop, which outlined the importance of patient’s feedback and how this might be developed with assistance from NHS England in order to make better use of patient data and improve local GP services.

The conference was also an opportunity to see how the Patient Participation Group project for nursing students has grown over the past year with some very uplifting presentations from nursing students and patient representatives telling us how they are contributing to PPGs.

Part of the conference was devoted to the Participation in Practice Awards, which was launched at last year’s conference. Students and Patient Participation Groups  presented their work and were given awards in a variety of categories, ranging from ‘widening membership’ to ‘Health Promotion & Education’.

For a list of winners, a copy of the Working Together Guide and the presentation slides click here. You can also send an email  Abdullah to receive an information and support pack to help kick-start your PPG.

For more information about the Annual PPG conference hosted by Plymouth University, click here

Conference Awards 2016

As part of the PPG project the PA made a number of awards at the  annual PPG conference  to recognise excellent practice and innovation.

There were 6 categories with winners listed as follows:

1) Influencing Comissioning – Firsway Health Centre PPG
2) Health Promotion – Carnewater Practice PPG & Sid Valley PPG
3) Reaching the local community – Beacon Medical Practice: Ivybridge PPG
4) Widening Membership – Addison Road Medical Practice PPG
5) Student Impact – Leyton Sixth Form College
6) Innovative Ways of Involvement – Hackney CVS