We have completed an exciting initiative in partnership with the Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care Board (ICB) to support patient engagement and revitalise Patient Participation Groups post pandemic. You can read the report here. We believe projects like this could have benefits for other ICBs. 

Working in partnership with patients, carers, and healthcare staff, we collectively identified PPGs’ needs, how to address them and what – according to patients and practices – ‘good’ looked like for PPGs.  

We ran a series of workshops with PPGs, based on identified needs. These included topics as diverse as, how to set up a PPG, how to support PPG volunteers and the role of PPGs in tackling local health inequalities. These workshops and other resources for PPGs are available on our website. With the ICB’s permission we have made the resources freely available.  

We also established a buddy scheme, spearheaded by the PPGs, for well-established PPGs to assist those that needed extra support to thrive. This scheme enables PPGs across the ICB to learn from each other.  

The PPGs were considered a success if: they had an active core group that was diverse and representative of the wider patient population; they worked in partnership with practice staff; they engaged with the Primary Care Network; and there was evidence of service improvements at the practice. 

The Patients Association has six decades of experience of working with patients from all walks of life and supporting organisations to partner with patients and communities to improve services. Our partnership work is award-winning, and we have a track record of work supporting patients from over-looked communities. 

If you’d like to know more about our work with PPGs and how we could support PPGs in your ICB, or your wider community engagement, please feel free to contact us at [email protected]

Read the PPG report here.

“From a patient perspective being on this project was both a privilege and a great opportunity to learn as well as contribute. Having just presented the patient view of the project to an Engagement Conference in Cambridge, it enabled me to reflect on the progress that I had taken for granted. Other ICBs clearly lacked both the vision and the data to maximise the value that PPGs contribute.This project has created a sound basis to take this work forward and ensure that PPGs create real benefits for both Patients and Practices.The way forward is flexible, transparent collaboration and action between PPGs and practice staff.

Alan Bellinger and Claire Uwins Patient representatives