Supporting effective GP patient participation groups

It has been a contractual requirement for each GP practice since April 2016 to have an active and involved Patient Participation Group (PPG).

Working together to support effective GP patient participation groups

Together, Healthwatch Newcastle and Healthwatch Gateshead wanted to create a best practice award for PPGs. The aim was to increase and improve the involvement of patients in their GP practices.

Our pilot ‘Healthwatch Participation in Practice’ award launched in September 2019. You can watch a video explaining the pilot at the launch event here

Participating GP practices

Cheryl Newcastle medical practiceSeveral GP practices in Newcastle and Gateshead participated in the pilot from autumn 2019 to February 2021. Six practices went on to achieve our Practice in Participation award:

  • Birtley Medical Group
  • Bridges Medical Practice
  • Dilston Medical Centre
  • Elswick Family Practice
  • Newcastle Medical Centre (Practice Manager Cheryl Mooney is pictured here)
  • Oxford Terrace and Rawling Road Medical Group

We planned to start an award evaluation straight after the pilot ended. However, it was clear in February 2021 that practices continued to be exceptionally busy due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Evaluating the pilot

We decided to postpone the evaluation until we can better assess whether the award has helped the PPGs involved in the pilot become more effective. Anecdotal feedback from those involved, including some who had to withdraw from the pilot, has been very positive and PPGs remain a high priority for us.

GP practices continue to work under pressure as we transition from the pandemic. As practices and PPGs continue to learn and operate in a changing landscape, we believe it is inappropriate to continue the pilot in its current form.

We hope to identify practices that would like to take a co-production approach to develop this work. We will contact practices when the time is right.

Read the Healthwatch interim report here