Winter 2020 issue
Est. Reading: 3 minutes

Patient Participation Group Profile

People Participation is about helping our service users and their carers to have a say in how we run the Trust. Mary Prior, lead of the Patient Participation Group (PPG) for Leighton Road Surgery in Leighton Buzzard explains how patients and staff work together to offer a better service for all.  

What does the Patient Participation Group (PPG) do?

We support the activities of the practice and work to share views, opinions and ideas from patients with the Leighton Road Surgery (LRS) team to help improve how care is provided.

Our members also play an active role in helping the practice and during the last year we have helped organise a health and wellbeing fair, been car park marshals for the LRS drive-through flu clinic, provided support during the Care Quality Commission inspection and have members volunteering at the Leighton Buzzard covid vaccination centre.
We are in the process of helping support our Lead Nurse to launch a project to connect housebound and/or lonely patients and we are also involved in interviewing staff.

Do the PPG feel valued by the practice?

There have been ups and downs during my time with the PPG, over 10 years, but since the surgery joined ELFT 12 months ago there has been fantastic energy and engagement which has been generated by the current Practice Manager.

We really feel our opinions and suggestions are taken into account and given serious consideration.

What I love is the practice always listens and always comes back with a response to our suggestions.

It might be ‘yes we will do that, ‘your idea might need to be adapted’ or ‘we can’t do that at this point because’ – but there is always a conversation.  

Why did you get involved with the PPG?

I have lived in Leighton Buzzard since 1974, taught in several schools in the town, and had not long retired when I was asked if I would like to get involved.

I love this community, wanted to give something back and health affects everybody.

How do you engage with other patients?

We used to go and meet patients at the surgery and now meet them virtually, working in pairs. We listen to their praise, concerns or questions and take them back to the practice.

We can’t talk about clinical issues but can help find the answers if they have other questions.

What kind of backgrounds do the PPG members have?

We come from a whole range of backgrounds so we have a variety of experiences and skills to bring to the group.

Do you need other members?

At one point all members were retired or semi-retired but we have had some younger people join the team, which has definitely helped improve the balance.

We would love to have some young adults in their late teens get involved and tell us from their perspective what works, or how they would like to see changes made.  

What achievements are you proud of?

The progress made during the last year has been tremendous.

We have worked jolly hard with the surgery team to turn things around.

There is a genuine sense of momentum and the willingness of members to be involved in projects has been exceptional.

That tremendous hard work is reflected in how LRS is perceived. If you look at social media you now regularly see ‘what a fantastic surgery’ and other positive comments.

That hasn’t always been the case and shows the progress which has been made.

It has been a genuine team effort and being able to support LRS in whatever way we can is our greatest achievement.  

Can other patients join the PPG?

Absolutely.

If people are interested then we ask them to join as an observer at one of our meetings to get a feel for it, think about it and then they are welcome to join us if it feels right for them.

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