Supporting GP Practices – Patient Participation Groups

From April 2016, it has been a contractual requirement for all English GP practices to form a Patient Participation Group (PPG). In Gloucestershire we have a network of active PPGs who meet together on a quarterly basis.  The CCG offers support and advice to our PPGs.

Role of PPGs

PPG members work with their practice to help ensure the best possible experience for its patients.  The role of a PPG can include:

  • being a critical friend to the practice
  • advising the practice on the patient perspective and providing insight into the responsiveness and quality of services
  • encouraging patients to take greater responsibility for their own and their family’s health
  • carrying out research into the views of those who use the practice
  • organising health promotion events
  • regular communication with the patients registered with the GP practice

Gloucestershire PPG Network

The Gloucestershire PPG Network is organised by Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

Find out more about Gloucestershire PPG Network

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Local PPG resources and support

NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group work with local organisations to develop useful resources and additional support for PPG’s in Gloucestershire, examples of these include:

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The CCG Engagement Team supports practices and PPGs to engage with their practice population about changes and developments such as branch closures, staff changes and premises developments. The Team also provides planning advice and practical hands on support for PPG activities such as: survey development, event planning, event facilitation, loan of equipment (see below)


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NHS Gloucestershire CCG has a range of equipment that PPG’s can hire at no charge. This includes:

Table top and floor standing display boards, NHS branded table cloths, Ketso facilitation kits, speaker systems, portable hearing loop and flip chart paper and pens.

The NHS Gloucestershire CCG Information Bus (and driver!) is also available for PPG’s and practice events, please contact us if you are interested in this by calling 0300 421 1794 or email


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NHS Gloucestershire CCG worked with Healthwatch Gloucestershire to produce a facilitating feedback pack for PPG members in Gloucestershire.


National PPG resources and support

The following resources may be helpful in supporting your PPG in achieving its aims.

The Patient Engagement and Experience Team can also offer support, advice and training for your PPG members. Please contact us via email at, or by telephone 0300 421 1794 to discuss how we can help.

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This animation is a whistle-stop tour of how the NHS works today (produced in 2017)


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Understanding NHS jargon – When you are new to working with the NHS it can be difficult to get used to some of the language and terms that are used. A jargon buster can be found here

Learning and development opportunities from NHS England for volunteers can be found here

Help with involving a more diverse group of participants can be found here

The NHS Youth Forum have provided some top tips for involving young people in PPG’s which can be found here


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Patient Participation Group Information & Support Pack can be found here.


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NHS England commissioned N.A.P.P. – the national voice for patient participation in primary care – to develop building better participation, and it is available to download here.


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A report from Healthwatch Swindon and NHS England, Patient Participation Groups: Improving the experiences of Patients and Carers  available here


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The NHS website (previously known as NHS Choices)was launched in 2007 and is the official website of the National Health Service in England with over 48 million visits per month. provides comprehensive health information service with thousands of articles, videos and tools, helping visitors to make the best choices about health and lifestyle, but also to make the most of NHS and social care services in England.

On line service directories let visitors find, choose and compare health, support and social care services in England. also publishes reviews and ratings across health and social care services, including GP practices. An example can be found here


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The GP Patient Survey is an independent survey run by Ipsos MORI on behalf of NHS England. The survey is sent out to over a million people across the UK. The results show how people feel about their GP practice. An example of this can be found here.


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The Friends and Family Test (FFT) is an important feedback tool that supports the fundamental principle that people who use NHS services should have the opportunity to provide feedback on their experience. It asks people if they would recommend the services they have used and offers a range of responses. When combined with supplementary follow-up questions, the FFT provides a mechanism to highlight both good and poor patient experience. Since it was initially launched in April 2013, the FFT has been rolled out in phases to most NHS-funded services in England, including GP practices, giving all patients the opportunity to leave feedback on their care and treatment.

The real strength of the FFT lies in the follow up questions that can be attached to the initial question. These are a rich source of patient feedback that can be used locally to highlight and address concerns much faster than more traditional survey methods. The results can be used by practices to track progress over time. An example of this can be found here.


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There are three key requirements of GP practices set out in the guidance:

  1. to make the opportunity to provide feedback through the FFT available to all patients at any time;
  2. to submit FFT data to the NHS England analytical team via the Calculating Quality Reporting Service (CQRS) each month; and
  3. publish the data locally.

Practices are allowed to use a collection methodology that suits their local circumstances. Patients do not need to be asked to answer the FFT question after every appointment or contact with the practice, but they should be made aware that the opportunity to provide feedback is available.



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The National Health Service (General Medical Services Contracts and Personal Medical Services Agreements) (Amendment) Regulations 2015

All GP practices contractually required to establish and maintain a PPG.

Insertion of new regulation 24A into the GMS Contracts Regulations

Patient participation

24A.—(1) The contractor must establish and maintain a group known as a “Patient Participation Group” comprising of some of its registered patients for the purposes of—

(a) obtaining the views of patients who have attended the contractor’s practice about the services delivered by the contractor; and

(b) enabling the contractor to obtain feedback from its registered patients about those services.

(2) The contractor is not required to establish a Patient Participation Group if such a group has already been established by the contractor pursuant to any directions about enhanced services which were given by the Secretary of State under section 98A of the 2006 Act(e) before 1st April 2015.

(3) The contractor must make reasonable efforts during each financial year to review the membership of its Patient Participation Group in order to ensure that the Group is representative of its registered patients.

(4) The contractor must—

(a) engage with its Patient Participation Group, at such frequent intervals throughout each financial year as the contractor must agree with that group, with a view to

obtaining feedback from the contractor’s registered patients, in an appropriate and accessible manner which is designed to encourage patient participation, about the

services delivered by the contractor; and

(b) review any feedback received about the services delivered by the contractor, whether pursuant to sub-paragraph (a) or otherwise, with its Patient Participation

Group with a view to agreeing with that group the improvements (if any) which are to be made to those services.

(5) The contractor must make reasonable efforts to implement such improvements to the services delivered by the contractor as are agreed between the contractor and its Patient Participation Group.

(6) In this regulation “financial year” means the 12 month period beginning on 1st April each year and ending on 31st March the following year.”.