A fund of £20,000 has been launched by the Growing Patient Participation campaign to help support the activities of Patient Participation Groups (PPGs) in local health promotion across the country.

The Growing Patient Participation campaign is a joint initiative run by PPG umbrella organisation the National Association for Patient Participation (NAPP), NHS Alliance, the Royal College of GPs and the British Medical Association with support from the Department of Health, and was set up to boost awareness of the activities of such groups to help promote their advantages and encourage their establishment in more practices.

PPGs have actually been around in one form or another since the early 1970s and are widely thought to make an important contribution the health and well-being of local communities and decision-making within the National Health Service. Generally, they help support GP practices by encouraging patients to get more involved in the maintenance of their own health as well as provide strategic input to help tailor services and ensure local needs are being met.

Under the bidding process, individual PPGs will be allowed to bid for a slice of up to £4,000 of the Making a Difference fund, which will provide financial support to help fund either a new scheme or support the continuation of a “valuable” existing one.

There are no restrictions on the types of initiatives that will be considered for a cash injection, however it is essential that bids clearly show they are achievable, respond to local patient needs and can make a real impact in improving the health and well-being of the local community, according to the NAPP.

Entries for funds will be judged by a panel of NAPP, primary care trust, PPG, GP and practice manager representatives, and award allocations will be made under a two-stage process, with successful bidders to be announced in December and February 2010.