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DOCTOR CALLING: By Dr Kevin Hill

Patients are being urged to have a greater say in health services.

NHS South Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group and members of local patient participation (PPG) groups are calling on more people to become involved during National Patient Participation Week, which runs until Saturday.

The week is organised by the National Association for Patient Participation (NAPP). It aims to highlight the importance of patient participation in achieving excellence in care for all patients. The theme of this year’s NAPP campaign is ‘Quality in General Practice’ – where informed and involved patients work together with their practice to improve the quality of care and outcomes for patients.

First established in 1972, PPGs help GP surgeries to discover what a range of patients think about services, to establish their priorities and to test and modify plans GPs may have. A PPG also helps to identify where improvements can be made for patients and acts as a ‘critical friend’ to ensure services, plans and activities respond to patients’ needs and priorities. They also provide practical support to practice teams, such as conducting patient surveys and organising health awareness events.

It’s important that patients are involved in decisions not just about their care, but in designing better care for others. So, we are encouraging our patients to join with us in helping to shape and improve health services by becoming a member of their local PPG.

Patients are in the unique position of being the only people who know what it is like to be on the receiving end of services, which means that they can provide us with vital information on what works well and how services can improve. PPGs also play a pivotal role in helping to improve communication, encouraging patients to take more responsibility for their health and providing practical support for others in the community.

Anyone wishing to become a member of their PPG should talk to their practice manager.