The Patient Participation Group Meetings
The purpose of this page is to report in general terms what happens in
Patient Participation Group (PPG) meetings.
Topics for PPG Meetings
A recurring theme of our PPG is recruiting
more members. So far we have about 10 members, but the consensus is
the more people the better. One of the highlights of the meetings has
been a chance to meet people with different roles within the practice.
It really helped to have one of the practice receptionists explain life
on the front desk. For example, you can help your surgery by not
phoning for test results until after lunch. It's obvious to me now
that the receptionists are overloaded by desperate patients trying to make
appointments between 8:30 and 11:00.
It was also most useful to enlist the receptionists in recruiting new
members through posters, leaflets and taking the names of interested
A Nurse's View
Until one of the nurses took the time and trouble to address our meeting
I had not realized how frustrating it was for medical professionals when
people did not show for their appointments. The worst case was 19
missed appointments. One side-effect was the resurrection of notices
displaying how many appointments were missed during the last week. The
PPG members were incensed by patients cavalier treatment, suggests ranged
from fines to hanging! My idea was that those who missed appointments
could only have a new appointment at the end of the treatment window, that
way a no-show would be less disruptive given that surgeries often run late
at the end of the morning.
A Doctor's View
What struck me about the attitude of the doctor (and the nurse above) was
that even thought patients did naughty things, like miss appointments, or
come in with a shopping list of complaints, the doctor and nurse were so
caring, they thought about the worst case scenario, they did not want a
draconian system which meant they missed someone who had a serious problem.
Another side of the doctor's attitude was that they would like to do even
more for the patients, but in truth the patients have the ability to swamp
My guess is the practice manager is a crucial figure in cementing the PPG.
They not only provide practical support in terms of a meeting room, but also our
practice manager is fountain of knowledge about all matters to do with the
surgery and the broader health system.
The PPG Chairmen
We are fortunate in having an excellent chairman, who knows how to
prepare, and work through an agenda. Furthermore, while all members
clearly care about the PPG, the chairman goes the extra mile for the group,
and outside the meetings, for the community.
Our secretary is the unsung heroine in faithfully recording the minutes
of each meeting.
How the appointments phone service could be improved.
Desire for hospital records to be made available more easily in the
surgery. Also for surgery records to be available to a hospital when a
patient was admitted as an emergency.
Transport for patients to hospitals. It may not be realized that
most surgery patients are elderly, many may not be able to drive -
especially if they are ill. See more on
Droitwich hospital transport problems.
It's only natural that PPG members raise their own experiences of the
health system, and what sticks in their memory is problems they had.
It left me feeling that my problems were relatively insignificant, and that
I have been lucky in having great medical treatment. There was a
general feeling that it was the administration rather than the medical staff
which caused the greatest frustration.
A PPG is collection of ordinary people with a desire to make a difference
to what happens in their surgery. These are my reasons joining the patient participation group:
- To support, help and boost the doctors.
- A sense of wanting to give something back to the community.
- Lobbying to improve services, for example, phone service, local transport for
- To let off steam about personal grievances concerning administration
at the practice;
then distil it into constructive criticism.
Contact Guy Thomas