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CPD Zone    Transforming Primary Care   

Involving patients

“The role of the patient is no longer as a passive recipient of care. Nowadays doctors are expected to engage patients in their own health, care and treatment.” (Suzanne Parsons et. al. 2010)

What are patients saying?

Twice a year Ipsos MORI carries out a GP patient survey to find out how people feel about their GP practice. You can read the latest reports on the GP Patient Survey website, or find the latest report for a specific practice (searching by name or postcode) and compare it to other nearby practices.  Read about the results of the 2017 survey.

Read the findings of the NIHR  research study, Patient experience of primary care,  which shares findings about what patients really think about their care, how this varies for different patient groups and how practices can act on patient feedback.

Healthtalk.org and Youthhealthtalk.org come from a unique partnership between The DIPEx charity and The Health Experiences Research Group  at Oxford University’s Department of Primary Care. Healthtalk.org is a place where doctors and patients can learn through other people’s every day experience of a health condition. There are hundreds of real people’s stories collected by academic researchers who interview people in their own homes, using their own words aross a wide range different health issues.

Engaging with patients in primary care

Engaging with People and Communities – an  elearning programme supports staff to involve patients and the public in their work. It uses approaches built on best practice principles to improve services, including giving clear advice on the legal duty to involve. The programme is available to access via the e-LfH Hub and the Electronic Staff Record (ESR).

Better conversation: Better health  – Resources for clinicians and health and care leaders on how to introduce a health coaching approach to improve the quality of conversation and help patients change behaviour. The aim is to enable people to thrive by feeling more motivated, confident and in control of managing their own health and care. The site includes a short video, infographics and a resource guide with case studies, evidence and tips.

The quality of patient engagement and involvement in primary care explores how to improve and measure the quality of the engagement process, and reviews good practice examples of patient involvement.

Public and Patient Engagement Getting it Right is a quick read, giving practical tips while also setting out the principles of engagement.

HealthWatch is the national consumer champion in health and care, with significant statutory powers to ensure the voice of the consumer is strengthened and heard by those who commission, deliver and regulate health and care services.

  • Find local HealthWatch organisations here.

Patient participation groups (PPG)

Over 50% of practices in England now have a PPG- see Medical Protection’s How to … Set up a Patient Participation Group.

NHS England have published a toolkit to help you set up and run your PPG.

MK Patient Partnership Groups Guide is a practical step-by-step guide to setting up a Patient Participation Group, produced in Milton Keynes. For General Practices and patients who are interested in getting more involved.

National Association for Patient Participation – NAPP promotes the benefits of patient participation groups in GP surgeries as a mechanism for delivering real, positive change within their communities, and believes that PPGs are making a real difference across the UK.

Dr Patricia Wilkie, President and Chairman of the NAPP, has written about the importance to GPs of involving patients in the wider aspects of the organisation of health care, as well as in their personal care, and demonstrates why GPs need to work with the patients in their practice in order to fulfil aspects of the GP curriculum and revalidation. Read the article in InnovAiT, 2018, Vol. 11(8), 452–459

Sharing decisions and information about their health with patients

The Shared Decision Making e learning programme on the Health Education England eLfh platform provides guidance on what Shared Decision Making  is and how to implement it in practice. (A study in BMJ Evidence Based Medicine has evaluated its impact – read it here:   Hoffmann TC, Del Mar C, Santhirapala R, et al. Teaching clinicians shared decision making and risk communication online: an evaluation study. BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine Published Online First: 22 September 2020. doi: 10.1136/bmjebm-2020-111521)

Real General Practice includes a number of Shared Decision Making resources across a wide range of topics aimed both at clinicians and patients.

These two sites include a range of shared decision aids to help support doctors and help patients understand treatment options:

There are also a wide range of health apps which are designed to help patients manage their health including:

Involving patients in research

INVOLVE is a national advisory group shares knowledge and learning on public involvement in research in the NHS, public health and social care.


The CPD Zone is brought to you by the GP schools of Health Education England working across Thames Valley and Wessex, in association with Oxford Health FT Library.​

Last updated: 27 November, 2020

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