Patients’ Voice – Here to Hear!


Welcome to Patients’ Voice, the Patient Participation Group for the two surgeries run by New River Health; Castlegate surgery in Hertford and Church Street surgery in Ware.

Patients’ Voice provides an opportunity for people to raise and discuss general issues regarding patient services, and to make suggestions for improvements to the service you and your community receive from your GP practice.

(Note that Patients’ Voice is not the place for the discussion of issues specific to individual patients; these should be taken up directly with the relevant surgery).

Patients’ Voice – Join the Team!

Our practice needs your patient voice!

We want a diverse team of adults that is representative of the New River Health patient population.  By diverse we mean all genders, ages, medical histories, ethnicities, parents of young children, young adults – there are no boundaries. We need all of you!

Any New River Health patient can sign up to join an existing team of volunteers to discuss ways to improve the service offered by our GP practice. This team communicates regularly and meets every 2-3 months (currently virtually, via Zoom).

ANY New River Health patient may raise general issues and make suggestions. 

You can do so using the Patient Participation Group registration form or by writing to:

Patients’ Voice,
New River Health,
42 Castle Street,
SG14 1HH

Joining the Patients’ Voice Team

What do team members do?

Patients’ Voice team members meet formally every couple of months (currently via Zoom) and may communicate between meetings (mostly via email) to discuss specific issues. Individual members can get involved in matters that really interest them and as their time permits. As well as considering issues and suggestions made by patients, they can also help in other ways (see below, link to what else can you do?). And, if you are not a “meeting person”, we can add you to the email circulation list so you receive updates.

Some myth-busting!

“I have a job – I just don’t have the time”. The meetings are flexible (and currently online); you can have as much or as little input as you like but, remember, the more you put in, the more you may get out!

“I’m young/male/don’t have a condition, so they don’t need my input” – Wrong! We need a diverse membership to ensure we have a good cross-section of the patient population.

“Sounds like just another talking-shop!” – Not if you want to make a real contribution to the improvement of GP services and are prepared to provide the team with the benefit of your skills and experience.

Examples of why existing team members joined

Holly (a parent in her 30s) said “I have a chronic condition and wanted a deeper insight into my GP practice to see what goes on, how things work, and how things can be improved”.

Michael (in his 70s) said “A family member who works hard to deliver ever-improving NHS services in East Herts told me that Patients’ Voice had a major role to play and I would be able to make a contribution”.

What else can you do?

Here are some examples of other things team members can do:

  • Assisting surgery staff with events like Covid and Flu vaccination clinics
  • Assisting in the preparation of the surgery newsletters
  • Organising local health information events for patients
  • Setting up support groups for those with long term conditions
  • Taking part in the local area primary care consultation process
  • Participating in local and regional meetings to ensure patient voice is heard
  • Helping to develop information on the website.
  • Campaigning on local health issues
  • Becoming a Cancel out Cancer presenter or attending a presentation
  • Remember you can invest as little or as much time as you want! All contributions are greatly valued.

What benefits are there for you?

  • Meeting our friendly group of Patients’ Voice members
  • Receiving up to date information about what is happening at NRH
  • Knowing that we do have a voice and we have input into some of the changes at the surgery
  • A feeling of putting back into the NHS
  • It may be useful to say you are a member of PV when applying for jobs

…and the surgery?

  • Hearing patients’ experiences of the surgery’s services
  • We often have simple ideas on improving services, which can be, and are, implemented
  • A pool of volunteers who help where they are able to
  • Links, through members, to other organisations which can help patients

Want to find out more? A message from our current Chair, Linda Pryor

I became Chair of New River Health’s Patient Voice in September 2020. I had an unexpected heart bypass 11 years ago. When I retired I became a Hertfordshire Health Walks’ leader, I was in the surgery one day and was speaking to Castlegate’s Practice Manager, Karen Cassell. She suggested I came along to the patient group meeting to advertise the walks and the rest is history! I really feel I am putting something back into the NHS and my aim is for Patients’ Voice to make the patient experience at New River Health as excellent as it can be and support the surgery when they need help. I hope you will join us too.

We would love you to join our Patients’ Voice. If you want to know more, you can email me directly at, fill out the registration form or write to the surgery.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Annual Meeting, 4th October 2022

We held a very successful Annual meeting at St Andrew’s Centre, Hertford, on October 4th 2022 with 24 people attending. The Chair presented her report [please can you insert the report as a link under the word report] and then two of the practice partners, Dr Nicky Williams and Dr Giles Pratt, spoke about what the last two years had been like during Covid, and what the plans for New River Health are for the future. Both said, along with many surgeries in England, there is a chronic shortage of GPs and everyone is having to adapt to different ways of working. This has created extra pressures on staff. The notes from the meeting will be posted on the website soon.


Our Annual Meeting is to be held on Tuesday 10th October at 7pm at The St Andrew’s Centre, Hertford.

We look forward to seeing you. Drs Giles Pratt and Nicky Williams will be giving a short talk. Refreshments will be provided. Further information will be posted before the meeting.