MEMBERS of patient participation groups (PPGs) look set to be told to reflect the view of their groups when speaking as a member in public – whether they ‘agree with it or not’.

A draft support pack for PPGs – which NHS Warrington clinical commissioning group (CCG) has supported the development of – aims to provide them with support.

The document is planned to be finalised before being it comes into force – after PPGs and practices are happy with it.

It is a contractual requirement for all practices to have a PPG, which offers members an opportunity to be involved with and support their practice, along with being a ‘critical friend’ to the site.

In the template code of conduct set out in the draft PPG support pack, it says all members of the relevant PPG will be expected to sign a declaration stating they will act in accordance with the code.

It also says members of the PPG are ‘not expected to approach the media without prior approval of the practice’.

Furthermore, it states when speaking as a member in a public forum or in private or informal discussion, they ‘should ensure’ that they reflect the current view of the PPG, ‘whether they agree with it or not’.

It adds that they are free to comment as individuals but, if that is the case, they need to ‘make it clear’ they are expressing their personal view and not the PPG’s view.

NHS Warrington CCG – which commissions and has responsibility for NHS services used by residents in the town – says it has supported GP practices and their PPGs to develop the draft toolkit ‘as a means to provide practical support and guidance’ as they continue to develop.

A spokesman added: “The content of the draft toolkit has been developed from a whole range of other documents including local practices’ own terms of reference and code of conducts, National Association of Patient Participation guidance and NHS England documentation.

“As with all such groups that are volunteer led, PPG representatives are volunteers for GP practices and, in line with best practice, it is the usual process for the individuals to sign up to code of conducts, as a PPG representative they are there to represent patients of the practice rather than themselves as an individual patient representative.

“This is very different from a policy or formal procedural document, the draft toolkit is merely there to provide practical support and guidance and it is the decision of the individual practice and PPG whether they want to use the contents or not.”