Patient Participation Groups (PPGs) and partner organisations

Many of our partner organisations also welcome participation from the public and offer their own routes in which to do this. Here are a few ways you can help improve healthcare services with organisations that are independent from the ICB.

PPGs at GP surgeries

From April 2016, it has been a contractual requirement for all English practices to form a patient participation group (PPG) during the year ahead and to make reasonable efforts for this to be representative of the practice population.

What do PPGs do?

Most GP surgeries have a patient participation group (PPG). This is a group of people who are registered with a GP practice and who have volunteered to work with the practice to represent patients.

This usually includes feeding back patient experience to help the practice improve the ways they do things and also providing a link between the practice and the patients.

PPG roles can include:

  • making sure the practice is meeting the needs of patients with long-term conditions, such as cancer and diabetes
  • helping patients use digital technology to manage their health appointments
  • promoting surveys and helping practices with their feedback and improvement work
  • telling patients about changes to services so that people know how to access treatment in a different way

How to get involved

You can usually find information about patient participation groups on your GP surgery website and on information boards in your GP surgery reception area.

Contact your practice directly if you would like to join its PPG or you can contact the ICB and we will put you in touch.

Guidance for primary care colleagues

If you represent a GP surgery in Suffolk and north east Essex, access resources designed to help facilitate meaningful patient engagement.

The work of Patient Participation Groups

In this video, Chair of the Frinton Road (now Clacton Community Practices) Patient Participation Group, Rita Garnett, speaks alongside our Chief Executive, Dr Ed Garratt. Together, they explain the importance of PPGs, and describe the PPG’s role in a large-scale project to improve facilities for a couple of practices within Tendring. This project eventually resulted in the practices relocating to a specially refurbished medical centre, Kennedy Way.

Dr Ed Garratt and Rita Garnett discuss the Kennedy Way Medical Centre

Dr Ed Garratt and Rita Garnett discuss the Kennedy Way Medical Centre

Transcript of Dr Ed Garratt and Rita Garnett discuss the Kennedy Way Medical Centre video

Speaking: Simon Morgan, Associate Director of Communications for the ICB: We’re very lucky in Suffolk and north east Essex to have many patient participation groups. How important are they from a CCG’s perspective?

Speaking: Dr Ed Garratt, Chief Executive Officer for the ICB: The patient participation groups are hugely important, because we’re getting things done. So Rita and I have been working together for the last six months or so and we’ve seen massive changes here in primary care in Tendring. It’s been a hell of a journey but we’re now seeing the benefits of that. So we’ve got new leadership in place, we’ve got new accommodation in the state that we’re looking at today, and I just think it’s really exciting.

But that wouldn’t have happened without the conversations and the challenges we’ve had. Working with people like Rita has been brilliant.

Simon Morgan: Okay and Rita you’re a Chair of a local PPG here in Clacton. Tell us about some of the work that you do here.

Speaking: Rita Garnett, Chair of Frinton road PPG: Well basically I Chair the Frinton Road Surgery PPG and there are only about a dozen of us I have to say and we would dearly love more people to join the group. But also, I go to meetings of the Tendring PPG groups and they happen once every two months as well. So, we talk around all of the surgeries in our area to see what’s happening there and what’s happening at our surgeries and how we can change things and get things done.

Simon: And how important is it from your perspective that patients have a voice as far as services in the community are provided?

Rita: Well I think it’s actually very important that they have a voice because they are the people that are using your services and they know best what they need. And I know sometimes people can be a little bit over ambitious and what can be provided but generally speaking they have their feet on the ground and they know what they need in terms of their healthcare.

Simon: And you mentioned a bit about joining PPGs and the importance of becoming a member how can people take part in a PPG, in its work?

Rita: Well in our surgery we have our own notice board which has application forms for people to come and join and it’s very simple they just fill in the application form, give it to the practice manager, she passes the details to me and they’re on. It’s as simple as that, anybody that goes to the surgery can join the PPG.

Patient Participation Group (PPG) Networks

The local PPG Network, made up of representatives of PPGs across the region, works as a forum for sharing best practise and feeding back on NHS services. The aim is to help ensure that the voice of patients is at the heart of the ICB’s decision making processes. 

To find out more, please get in touch:

Telephone: 01473 770 014


Healthwatch Essex and Healthwatch Suffolk are independent organisations that gather and represent people’s views and experiences of NHS and social care services so that they can be designed and delivered better.

They work directly with the public, and closely with local voluntary and community groups, to find out what matters to people about NHS and social care, and to give a voice to those who are seldom heard.

Our health and providers

If you have feedback to give, good or bad, on the experiences you have had with one of the organisations that provide healthcare in Suffolk or north east Essex, you can choose to submit that feedback in one of two ways. You can either send your feedback directly to the organisation in question, or if you would prefer, you can pass it on to our own Patient Advice and Liaison Service.

Page last modified: 19 December 2023
Next review due: 19 June 2024