Primary care services

How to get involved in primary care (GP, pharmacy, dentist, optician services) commissioning

Primary care services provide the first point of contact in the healthcare system, acting as the ‘front door’ of the NHS. Primary care includes general practice, community pharmacy, dental, and optometry (eye health) services.

Here are some of the ways you can get involved in the commissioning of primary care services:

  • Give feedback on primary care services by completing local and national surveys. An example of this is the GP Patient Survey, which is sent to over one million people in the UK.
  • You can join your local patient participation group (PPG). All GP practices must have a PPG, which is made up of patients who use the practice. They work together to improve services. You can get more details from your GP practice.
  • Providing your views when asked about plans to make changes to local primary care services. An example would be if a GP practice was closing or moving.
  • Working with local professional networks (LPNs) which bring together dentists, pharmacists and opticians to improve local services. You can find out more about your local LPN and how to get involved with it by contacting the NHS England Customer Contact Centre.
  • Working with NHS England’s primary care groups and committees. Roles on groups and committees are advertised on the NHS England website and in the In Touch newsletter. Members of the public can apply for these roles.
  • Working with your local Healthwatch or your local Integrated Care Board on planning and improving primary care services for your local area.

If you would like more information about how NHS England involves patients and the public in primary care commissioning you can also read the Framework for Patient and Public Participation in Primary Care Commissioning.