2016 is looking to be a big year for the NHS and I want to encourage as many local residents as possible to get involved and have your say on health service provision here in Thanet.

Thanet Clinical Commissioning Group is a dedicated group of healthcare professionals, working in partnership with local communities and authorities to ensure the people of Thanet receive the best possible healthcare.

To support the CCG, Thanet Health Network has been set up to make sure that everyone in Thanet gets a chance to make their views known – whether as individuals, through local community or voluntary organisations, or as part of a patient group.

The Network is a virtual group of patients, members of the public and voluntary groups from across Thanet. In 2016 members will receive updates on health issues in this area and be encouraged to give their views on pending healthcare decisions.

By becoming a member you can decide to participate as much or as little as you like. The network’s feedback helps the CCGs team of local GPs to decide how local health services are planned and designed.

Another way Thanet residents can get involved in helping with local healthcare services on a more local level is through a Patient Participation Group at a local GP practice. PPGs have been around in one form or another since the 1970s, but it’s only recently become a requirement for all English practices to try to form a PPG.

As there is no set way in which PPGs work, the aims and objectives of each group depend entirely on the needs of each individual practice. However, they each have the aim of making sure that their practice puts the patient, and improving health, at the heart of everything it does.

Local PPGs provide the opportunity to advise the practice on the patient perspective, organise health promotion events, communicate with the wider patient body, carry out research into the views of those who use the practice (and their carers) and even fundraise to improve the services provided by the practice.

Many practices in Thanet already have a PPG actively supporting and helping to improve services provided by their local GPs. Usually made up of a group of volunteer patients, the practice manager and sometimes one or more of the GPs from the practice, they meet on a regular basis to discuss the services on offer, and how improvements can be made for the benefit of patients and the practice.

Click here to join Thanet Health Network or write to NHS Thanet CCG, TDC, Cecil Street, Margate, Kent CT9 1XZ.

To find out more about your local Patient Participation Group contact your GP Practice Manager.

Clive Hart