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Future of PPI

August 2006

Patients Voice

A bi-monthly media update on the work of the Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) Forums across England

PPI Forums

The Patient and Public
involvement Forums (PPI)
are groups of volunteer working to give their local community a voice and improve local health

The Forums are
independent, have
statutory powers and
are supported by the
Commission for Patient
and Public Involvement in Health. For more details
go to

Find your local
PPI Forum

Click to find your local PPI Forum and see what they are doing in your area
click here

Commission for
Patient and Public Involvement in Health

Phone: 0845 120 7111


The Future of PPI
CPPIH welcomes changes to give patients "a stronger local voice" - however we must build on past experience

The Health Minister, Rosie Winterton, has announced that following a Government review, PPI Forums will be replaced by Local Involvement Networks (LINks).

The Department of Health believes that LINks will build upon the work of PPI Forums by giving more people and organisations the opportunity to become involved - within more flexible local arrangements.

Sharon Grant, CPPIH Chair, remarked "We welcome the vision contained in this proposal. We all see the need for much wider involvement in health matters. However, it is important that we do not overlook the value of the tremendous work that the present PPI Forums have done. We must ensure that the experience of Forums members is carried over into these new local networks.

We know, and share many of the concerns Forum members have about what is proposed, and will convey these to the Department of Health. There are concerns about how these networks will be resourced, and whether they will be truly independent from the NHS and local councils. Forum members are also concerned about the loss of their statutory powers and want to ensure that what replaces them has real teeth." 

Click here for more information.


New campaign asks patients and visitors – “Are you getting a square meal?”

Patient Forums across the country have launched a new campaign entitled ‘Food Watch' to discover patient and visitor views on hospital food and refreshments. "Food Watch" will look at the cost, quality and availability of food and drink for inpatients, their visitors and outpatients.

Forums decided action needed to be taken after receiving complaints and concerns on availability, price and quality of hospital food and drink. There has also been a rise in the number of hospitals that now have fast-food outlets, such as Burger King and Costa Coffee cafes, appearing in hospital foyers replacing more traditional shops and cafes.

The Forums will conduct surveys throughout hospitals in England to discover the cost of drinks and snacks in both inpatient and outpatient sites, as well as exploring the range of food offered to inpatients and responses to hospital food in general. Key issues will include:

•  Temperature of food
•  Menu changes – especially for those in long term care
•  Choices to fit diet, lifestyle or religious considerations
•  Availability of healthy options
•  Cost of refreshments
•  Help with eating

For more details click here

Forum demands urgent action on dirty wards

URGENT work is being done to make sure Huddersfield Royal Infirmary gets a clean bill of health after it received criticism in an inspection by the local Patient and Public Involvement Forum.

Two wards - one labelled as ‘disgusting' in the report by the PPI Forum for Calderdale and Huddersfield because of its state of cleanliness are to undergo major facelifts. Click here for more details.

Private clinic 'will hit hospital funds'

PRESTON is to get a new "one stop" health centre in a bid to cut patient waiting times – but the local PPI Forum has concerns it could mean vital services and jobs being axed.

Funded by Preston Primary Care Trust (PCT), the centre will act as a “middle tier” between GPs and hospital consultants, providing services such as orthopaedics, general surgery and gynaecology. However the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals' Patient and Public Involvement Forum (PPI) says the scheme will hit services and jobs at the Royal Preston Hospital. Click here for more details.

Patient letters being sent to India for typing

The PPI Forum for Whittington hospital have raised concerns after learning that patient records are being sent all the way to India to be typed. Click here for more details.

Forum fights to save Scarborough Hospital

Scarborough and North East Yorkshire Hospitals PPI Forum are running a campaign after raising concerns about the future of Scarborough Hospital.

The Hospital Trust has recorded debts and is required to find £14 million of cost savings in a year or face being downgraded or even merged with a neighbouring trust. Over 200 members of the public attended a meeting the Forum held and it resulted in a major campaign being launched. Already 5000 people have added their names to a ‘ Protect Scarborough Hospital ' petition. Click here for more details

Mental Health

The impact of budget cuts to Mental Health Services worries Forum

The PPI Forum for Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Trust has had their concerns over proposed changes to local mental health services raised in Parliament.

The Forum has been concerned by plans by the local Trust to cut costs by £5 million in the area. The proposed plans would affect services for children with behavioural problems, adults with learning difficulties, elderly people and those with drug and alcohol-related problems.

David Grayson, Chair of the Patient Forum, was quoted in parliament as saying "The implementation of the proposed cuts will increase the suffering of service users and their carers, who will face increased risk of suicide and self-harm, longer recovery time, higher relapse rates and a greater reliance on carers who, due to their role, are already more susceptible to mental health problems."

Mental Health team must be saved

The PPI Forum for the Cheshire and Wirral Partnership has reluctantly accepted that a mental health ward may have to close at a hospital in Chester because the NHS Trust has no money. However the Forum also believes that the under threat local community mental health team must be maintained.

The Forum believes cutting a community mental health team would mean up to 250 vulnerable people would then have to be looked after by primary care mental health services. Click here for more details.

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Primary Care
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Patient Forum has no confidence in Devon Trust

The PPI Forum for North Devon has declared it has no confidence in the Healthcare Trust board's ability to recover its financial position without directly impacting on patient care and staff moral.

Jono Broad , Chair of the PPI Forum stated that “the Forum is not convinced by Trust rhetoric that patient care is not being affected. On the contrary, as has been suggested to us by many members of our community, services are showing signs of being overstretched and we believe that this situation cannot be allowed to continue. We cannot sit idly by and watch as services are reduced and a long term threat to our hospital is perceived”. For more information click here.

GP services are failing patients in Yarmouth

A survey by the PPI Forum for Yarmouth has found that patients are finding it increasingly difficult to book an appointment.

The survey by the Forum has found that there are “significant problems” with the new booking system, attributed to the NHS setting a target that all patients should be seen within 48 hours. This target has led many surgeries not to allow appointments to be booked in advance, with many operating a policy of calling on the day to see a doctor, which was inconvenient for many of the patients questioned.

A shortage of GPs in the area was also found, with many doctors reluctant to work in Great Yarmouth. Click here for more details

Patients urged to speak up for hearing aids

The PPI Forum for Calderdale Primary Care has been increasingly alarmed at the waiting list faced by local patients requiring audiology services.

Michael Snee of the PPI Forum explained "Waiting times for audiology services around the country can vary from 20 weeks to 3 years depending on where you live. This problem appears to have been caused by a national programme to replace old analogue hearing aids with new digital aids. The programme underestimated of the number of deaf or heard of hearing people in the country."

The Forum believes that this under-estimate has risen because Local authorities inform the Department of Health of the number of people in their area who are registered as deaf or hard of hearing. However sadly the number of people actually registered is way below the true figure as registering is voluntary and there is little benefit to encourage people to do so.

Forum fights for Community Hospital beds

The PPI Forum for Hertsmere is calling on all residents opposed to proposals to close 15 beds at Potters Bar Community Hospital to write to Hertsmere Primary Care Trust with their concerns. The Primary Care Trust has a deficit of £12.4 million and is currently consulting on plans to shut the beds at the hospital and use the space for community and district nursing staff offices.

Robert Hillyard, Vice-Chair of the Forum said: "The proposal flies in the face of recent department of health policy for community hospitals and will significantly affect the services that the hospital can offer to residents in Hertsmere. We believe the PCT should look for new service and revenue-generating opportunities for beds they free up as a result of operational efficiencies, rather than close wards to achieve marginal cost savings."

More choice at Sexual Health Clinics

North Somerset PPI Forum has visited the new Sexual Health Clinic recently opened at Weston Hospital and has written a report, to be presented to the Trust, requesting expansion of its services, in particular increasing the hours that it is open and ensuring that service users have the choice to be seen either by a female or a male member of staff.

Dentistry in Cornwall

West Cornwall PPI Forum recently wrote to the West Briton newspaper about the local dentistry crisis and included in the letter were details of how to request an “Access to NHS Dentistry Survey” from the Forum.

Within 24 hours of publication the Forum were inundated with requests for the survey and for the contact details of the West Cornwall PCT PALS service, so people could find emergency NHS dentists. The Forum Member appeared on Spotlight – the BBC's regional news highlighting the crisis and responding to the closure of another NHS dentist in Cornwall.

Ambulance Services

National Forum event on the reconfiguration of the Trusts

CPPIH is bringing together PPI Forums for all Ambulance Services across the country to discuss how the reconfiguration of Ambulance Trusts will impact on services, what issues are being faced and how Forums can work to effectively monitor and adapt to these changes. For more details email

Ambulance PPI Forums set their plans for 2006/07

Ambulance Forums across the country have announced their work plans for 2006 /07 Inevitably monitoring the reconfiguration of the Ambulance Trusts takes high priority in most Forums work plans. However issues surrounding cleanliness of vehicles and infection control, call centre services and emergency response capacity are also being monitored by some Forums. All Ambulance Forums have also highlighted their need to continue to build and strengthen links with more local groups as a priority.

To read your local PPI Forums annual report and work plan for the coming year. Click here to go to our "Find my local Forum" facility.

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Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health
Phone: 0845 120 7111

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