Patient Partnership Groups

The RCGP recognises that the patient viewpoint is important in the development of general practice. The aim of the Patient Partnership Group (PPG) is to be an active College group promoting partnership between patients and general practitioners in primary health care and highlighting patient concerns and needs.

The work of the College's Patient Partnership Group

The group's main role for the College is that of 'critical friend'. It provides a patient and carers perspective at a wide range of College meetings and encourages and supports the College in involving patients in their own care. Read the PPG Terms of Reference 2009.

The RCGP Patient Partnership Groups does not provide advice on how to set up a Patient Partnership Group in your local practice. However, if you want advice on how to do this the National Association for Patient Participation (NAPP) can help.


The PPG is composed of 8 lay members and 5 GP members.

The lay members are appointed following advertisement of vacancies and interviews. Members are appointed from various backgrounds and experience. Read the role description and a list of current members [TBC].

The Honorary Secretary seeks nominations for GP members through Faculties and Council networks. At least one GP member is usually a member of Council.

Patient Information

The College has developed the following resource for patients: 

Patient Partnership

The patient is at the heart of all College activity. At the hub of healthcare and embedded in the community, general practice can mean so much to so many people, therefore, listening to the patient voice is an imperative.

The voice

The Patient Partnership Group (PPG) represents the patient voice for the College as a whole. Each of the three devolved countries also has its own group that endeavour to support and represent the patient. 

Patients in Practice (PiP) operate in Northern Ireland, Patient Partnership in Practice (P3) in Scotland and Patient Partnership in Practice (PPiP) in Wales. Sharing similar aims, values and goals, all the groups work in accordance with overarching College strategies.


The aims of P3 are to:

  1. Develop ideas and leading activities that encourage GPs to work in partnership most effectively with patients and public
  2. Influence activity in Scotland that impacts on the quality of patient care
  3. Work together as a team to ensure the activities of the College respond to patient needs.

Group members attend P3 meetings, actively focus on specific outputs, strategic recommendations, and champion the use of patient groups in General Practice. They do this by contributing to projects with partners and stakeholders, and by the College's work with Scottish Government. This includes regularly responding to consultations, and highlighting the patient voice in the media, where appropriate. 

P3 have a link to RCGP Scotland's leadership, the Scottish Council, and the P3 Chair regularly appraises Council of P3 activity and progress. P3 has a virtual voice, which any patient can enrol with RCGP Scotland to become a member of our dedicated discussion and response forum. Virtual patients correspond by email giving their responses to consultations and suggestions for improving patient care. The group is led by a member of P3, who provides the contact between the virtual and actual Group.

In recent years, P3 has worked on a range of project based work including:

  • Developing a toolkit for GPs to support and identify Carers
  • Produced guidance for GPs to support patients who had suffered rape or sexual abuse
  • Working with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society on a joint poster campaign to encourage patients to use the free minor ailments service within Pharmacies
  • Research project in all GPs practices to assess the availability and effectiveness of patients groups within Practices.


The RCGP Wales Patient Partnership in Practice group provides advice and guidance on a range of medical issues in line with its following stated aims:

  • Identify and develop ideas together and lead activities which encourage GPs to work in partnership most effectively with patients and the public
  • Influence and respond to activity in Wales that impacts the quality of patient care
  • Work together as a team to ensure the activities of the College respond to patient needs
  • Foster and support links with other RCGP Patient Partnership Groups.

The development of the PPiP work plan is linked to the Strategic aims of RCGP Wales and aims to increase patient involvement by working with other patient groups within RCGP, promoting and supporting the establishment of patient groups within GP practices and scoping work around developing links between practices working with the homeless and vulnerable adults.

RCGP Northern Ireland Patients in Practice Group

The Patients in Practice (PiP) Group is an active and important part of the Royal College of General Practitioners in Northern Ireland (RCGPNI), highlighting patient views and interests.

RCGPNI Patients in Practice Group (PiP) consists of 2 GPs and 8 lay members who work on a number of local projects as well as promoting patient involvement locally. The group, Chaired by Dr David Keenan (lay representative), meet 4 times per annum.

Further objectives

The Patients in Practice (PiP) group have been actively promoting the development of patient involvement in general practice throughout the year. One of the major projects undertaken was the development of a complete set of tools (DVD, booklet and waiting room poster) targeted at GP's. It aims to encourage them to foster patient involvement via easily accessible formats. Copies of the kit have been posted to all practices in NI and it is hoped that this initiative, supported by the Public Health Agency and the Health & Social Care Board, will lead to more patient groups being established.

The PiP group launched the online DVD at the 2014 Annual Conference in Liverpool during the 'Patient Participation in Primary Care: A Future Requirement Towards a Primary Service of Excellence'session. This was the first all patient run session at RCGP Annual Conference. The Chair and Deputy Chair of the group were invited to the Public Health Agency's Regional Patient and Public involvement forum to show and discuss the outputs of this project.

Choose the following links for more information:

Another area of development for the group has been to promote the benefits of patient involvement to our GP trainees and trainers. Dr Rose McCullagh and Dr David Keenan spoke to a group of GP trainees about the value of the patient voice and the benefits of having a patient group. Dr McCullagh also presented the importance of this issue to GP trainers to encourage them to promote the development of patient groups in  their teaching methods. Dr Shauna Fannin and Dr David Keenan also met with the Northern Ireland Medical and Dental Training Agency to discuss how education around patient groups could be included in GP training in the future. This is an area that both parties are keen to develop and hope to start work on a project in the near future.

As an invited guest speaker at the 'Health and Social Care Regulation: working together to keep people safe' event in June 2015, Dr Keenan addressed a number of key stakeholders, including the Health Minister Simon Hamilton MLA, on issues surrounding the importance of good regulation in increasing patient safety. Dr Keenan also represented the patient voice at a GMC workshop and the group have provided a patient perspective to a number of consultations.

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