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Patient groups and community networks

Patient participation groups (PPGs) are groups of patients linked with a GP practice. There are different forms of patient groups, some meet on a regular basis, some are virtual groups which mean that communication is mainly by email and most are a mixture of both.  They all vary in size.

Why should you join a Patient Group?

Being a member of a patient group means that you can represent registered patients, provide feedback on the services the practice offers, help the practice make improvements and promote health and improved quality of care.  Patient groups work in partnership with practice staff.

This can mean reviewing the practice patient survey and working to develop an action plan to address any issues and to improve services. Many PPGs also produce practice newsletters, arrange health information sessions and some support the practice by signposting patients to other support services and networks.

To find out about your PPG and how to join the PPG at your practice check their website or contact the practice manager at your surgery.

The National Association for Patient Participation (NAPP) provides guidance around getting involved and joining your local PPG.

Find out more about NAPP

We are working with our PPI Committee to put together a local guide to developing an effective PPG.  We will also work with local practices to support this development.  The draft guide is here - please give any comments to


Patient Engagement Sessions


Patient and carers suggest topics that require more detailed discussions than is available in a short committee meeting.  The project lead is invited to give a brief presentation, give details of how people can influence the process and then feedback is taken from the group to use in future planning.  Recently these discussions have included:

  • GP extended hours (with discussions / input on the format and distribution of a patient survey)

  • Reducing medicine waste and how patients, public and groups can support this initiative and raise awareness of the need to reduce waste.

  • Patient choice

  • Social prescribing

  • Focus group to identify how the CCG can evaluate participation success.

 Invitations are sent out through our patient network, around 160 people, who then share the invites with their patient groups and other contacts. We average between 40 - 70 attendees at these events.


The agenda for this meeting is here

For more information contact

Patient Group Network

To support the patient groups from our local GP practices we have set up a PPG networks to:

  • Share good practice.
  • Support and encourage the development of an active practice patient group in every GP practice in west Herts.
  • Link with individual practice patient groups.
  • To encourage each practice patient group to have a representative at their locality patient group (see below)

We currently have 160 members of this developing network.

Read the group's terms of reference.

Involving people with learning disabilities

People with learning disabilities die between 17 and 22 years younger than the rest of the population and issues relating to access to healthcare are sighted as key reasons for this in the CIPOLD 2013 and LeDeR 2018 reports. It is  therefore key that the voices of people with learning disabilities and their carers / support workers are heard at PPG level.

Engagement needs to be meaningful rather than tokenistic and to gain meaningful engagement some reasonable adjustments will need to be made by the PPG’s

 We are working with Learning Disability Specialist Nurses to help PPGs put measures in place to include patients with learning disabilities and their support workers  in their groups, planning and activities.  We are piloting this approach with four local GP practices initially and will then share what has been learnt and guidance through the rest of the PPG network – encouraging all practices to involve their patients with learning disabilities in their group.

Locality patient networks

There is a patient group in each of our localities - Watford and Three Rivers, Hertsmere, Dacorum, and St Albans and Harpenden. At the moment these groups normally meet for a couple of hours in the evening once or twice a month. Each area sends two representatives to the patient and public involvement (PPI) committee, which is a sub-committee of our board.

We would like to get more people involved in these small groups. We need people with all sorts of skills to get involved and are prepared to contribute to committees or are just passionate about improving health services.

For more information contact either Heather Aylward.

West Herts Yammer network

This site has been established to assist members of PPGS and other patient groups in west Herts to share information either across the network, within localities or in groups. The network itself was set up by our Patient and Public Involvement Committee to establish a patient network sharing good practice, supporting and encouraging the development of active patient groups in each GP practice and as a conduit for communication. 

The site is used to promote meetings and events, offer opportunities for engagement and for discussion between groups and individuals.

 If you would like to join the yammer network contact

Let's get connected

Bringing communities together – let’s get connected

Based on feedback from patients who wanted to know more about their local community- we hold events to bring together members of Practice Patient Groups (PPGs) with representatives from a range of community support groups and organisations to:

  • Raise awareness of local support groups, networks and organisations and the range of services on offer.
  • Encourage community involvement in patient groups and the wider health agenda: to promote involvement and opportunities to influence the way that local services are provided.

These events include market stalls from organisations such as Pets as Therapy, Carers in Herts, community transport and hospices together with ‘pop up’ presenters giving a short introduction to their organisation’s services.  We also managed to disprove the myth about not working with children and animals as we had both (babies and dogs) which added a new dimension to the discussions.

Read the report and feedback here from Let’s get connected on 28 November in Hemel Hempstead

Our next meeting is on Wednesday 3 April 2019 in Borehamwood. To find out more contact

Pledge card front cover_WEB.jpg

Linking with our local communities

To celebrate the NHS turning 70  we took part in Hemel Hempstead Rocks – distributing around 140 NHS70 rocks across the Dacorum area for people to find and including our twitter and facebook details to encourage local people to follow us. For more information here

We also worked with a local primary school on a design for 10,000 pledge cards which we used to ask people to give something back to their local NHS - here





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