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Five questions with … Saxon Spires Patient Participation Group


With the ever-growing role of primary care, patient participation groups (“PPGs”) have never been more important. The volunteers who meet on a regular basis discuss improvements that can be made to the practice to benefit the patients and staff. PPG Awareness Week aims to create a better understanding of what PPGs can bring to primary care and promote the support available for anyone wanting to join or start a PPG.

This year we completed the new building for the Saxon Spires Practice in Brixworth, which saw them move from their existing premises into a brand-new state-of-the-art building. The new building allows the practice to offer a range of services including physiotherapy, audiology, podiatry and counselling. The Saxon Spires Practice includes surgeries in Brixworth and Guilsborough and the PPG works across both sites. We talked to their PPG secretary, Barbara Hogg, to find out more.

How long have you been a member of the PPG at Saxon Spires Practice?

I have been a member of our practice PPG at Brixworth since it started in 2007. I have a long-term condition and value the care I have received over the years.

What are the typical things that PPGs discuss?

The PPG sees its role as supporting the work of the practice wherever we can. Our meetings are held bi-monthly and the practice manager and one of the GP’s are usually present. The practice manager will report on any significant happenings since the last meeting and these are discussed.

Over the years we have carried out patient surveys on behalf of the practice, taken part in CQC inspections and provided feedback from patients.

In February this year, the village welcomed the opening of our much-needed new surgery. The PPG decided to organise a village fundraising campaign. With the help of local businesses, sports clubs and individual donations from patients, a grand total of £18,000 was raised to help purchase equipment for the new building.

The PPG at Brixworth have started classes such as Tai Chi? How did this come about and are there any other facilities as a team you’ve provided for patients?

A few years ago, we were able to get a three-year grant to run Tai Chi for health classes. The type of Tai Chi offered is particularly beneficial for people with long term conditions, improving balance and flexibility. These classes proved extremely popular and they continue to this day.

The group encourages the spirit of self help and support amongst patients. We work with GPs to organise regular health education talks and monthly health walks, with dates advertised on our notice boards.

What would you say to someone wanting to join or start a PPG?

I would like to encourage anyone to join their local practice PPG. Being involved has proved to be a rewarding experience. It has given me an insight into the amount of work needed to care for patients. By working in partnership with the staff, we hope that we can help make the practice the best it can be.

How important is it for patients to have a way of communicating with doctors in primary care?

Patient groups play an important role in promoting the patient perspective and enables patients to have a voice within the practice.

You can find out more about how you can get involved with your local PPG or more about PPG awareness week here.