Litchdon Patient Participation Group, Barnstaple Devon

About Us


Basically, a PPG is a group of patients at any GP surgery with a mission to improve the relationship between doctors, nurses, patients and treatment.

PPGs are not a new phenomenon. They have been around for decades, but since the introduction of the new NHS Bill in 2012 many members of the public became more aware of PPGs as they struggled to find some pathway into understanding, and if possible, affecting, what is happening to the Health Service. Consequently, over the last 2-3 years they have grown in size and number across the country.

Why are we here?

The National Health Service is challenged and will continue to be challenged by cuts in funding and the drive to privatize services. Many surgeries are struggling to provide the services they know their patients need. The good news is that patients themselves can help to turn around services which they thought were failing.

You may well feel that Litchdon patients don’t need to get involved in the way their surgery is run; that the service provided by our doctors, nurses and administrative staff are already perfectly suited to your needs. This is great news for us – the committee of the Patient Participation Group (PPG) and the GPs themselves – but we know that the NHS is undergoing radical changes at the moment and we need to be very mindful of the effect such changes can have on what happens to us. So we are asking you to at very least regularly visit this website for an update on the latest news in the NHS and in our own little corner of it at Litchdon
because being aware gives us a position of strength to combat anything we think unjust or unfair in the way we are treated, either directly, by the surgery, or indirectly, by the way government is constantly moving the goalposts in the NHS.

This website has been set up to enable patients at the Litchdon Surgery to take part in this process of maintaining and improving standards of care and of helping our doctors to do what they want to do- make us better and keep us well.

How does the PPG operate?

All patients at Litchdon are automatically members of the patient participation group but organizing meetings; working directly with doctors and nurses; deciding which issues should take priority and running the website is the work of a group of volunteers who make up the PPG committee. Meetings are open to all patients and held 3-4 times a year. Usually held in the evening on a weekday at the surgery, some meetings may be at other venues, depending on the topics being discussed.

View the PPG Constitution (pdf)

What does it involve?

The amount you become involved is totally up to you but we do ask you to be involved - even if that is only sending in the odd idea once or twice a year. Anything you do send in is in total confidence - the surgery will never see it – The committee contacts the surgery for you and tells them what it is you want brought to their attention - your anonymity is guaranteed.
We invite members to contact us with thoughts and ideas on the services offered by the surgery. Meetings will often cover a specific health issue where you have the opportunity to comment on how well the practice is doing in relation to that issue. We would be happy to receive your ideas for future meetings that may help the surgery to deliver the best service it can. Ultimately, helping patients to get the best out of their doctor and just as importantly the doctors to get the best out of their patients. Without your input, changes or improvements may not happen. We are also looking for new members of the committee. If you are interested please do get in touch.

What else does the PPG do?

Apart from influencing behavior and policy the PPG aims to:
• help with patient clinics from time to time. For example, with the annual Flu Vaccination service, where extra hands might be needed to ensure patient movement through the surgery is as quick and painless as possible.
• help distribute Patient Survey forms to patients in the surgery. (A few times a year).
• help with organizing Patient Health Evenings.
• occasionally attend National PPG Seminars.
In fact we offer to help the surgery in any way that they may need help. We gather information that you may find useful and post it on the website – this may be about specific illnesses or services or simply a contact number. Our job is to represent you, the patient, and assist both you and the doctors in achieving the best result for all. We represent patients as a group but don’t deal with specific patients on specific items that are confidential between them and their doctor. However, if there is a specific concern that you feel may be important to you and others then by all means raise the matter with us but do not disclose anything that is personal to you.

As a patient of the Litchdon Medical Group you are a member of the Patients Group and without your input we cannot do our job. We will be happy to see you at any of our meetings and to receive your comments/suggestions and ideas. You may think you have nothing to offer but we promise you that you do.

What do we not do?

We represent patients as a group. We do not deal with individual patients on specific items or complaints that are confidential between them and their doctor/surgery. However, if there is a specific concern that you feel is important to you and others then by all means raise the matter with us but do not disclose anything that is personal to you.