PPG Terms of Reference

Oundle Patient Link (OPL)

The voice of the Patient Participation Group for Lakeside Healthcare Oundle Medical Practice

Since 2015, it has been a contractual requirement of NHS England for all General Practice’s to have a ‘Patient Participation Group’ (PPG). The aim is to make reasonable efforts to be representative of the Practice population and help to improve the services.


Purpose of a PPG:

  • To give patients and Practice staff the opportunity to meet and discuss topics of mutual interest.
  • To provide a means for patients to become more involved and make suggestions for improvement, about the healthcare services they receive.
  • To explore issues from patient concerns, patient surveys and contribute to action plans and help monitor improvements.
  • To contribute feedback to the Practice to propose developments or change.
  • To support health awareness and patient education.

Who we are!

From January 2022, the Patient Participation Group (PPG) for Lakeside Healthcare Medical Practice, Oundle, will be known as Oundle Patient Link (OPL). We believe the name better reflects the voice of the patients that we represent, and we act as the common link between them and the Practice.

OPL is open to every adult and mature students on the GP Practice patient list to join as a voluntary member. All communities, groups, sexual orientation, genders, ages, ethnicities and people with disabilities representing the patient list are encouraged to join. There are no other membership requirements other than patients must be registered with the Practice and be prepared to actively support OPL. We would like to make the group as representative of the patient group as possible so we can accurately reflect all patient views.


How can I get involved?

There are two options for OPL voluntary membership:

  1. Core Member (active/face to face)
  2. Virtual Member (no face to face interaction  i.e. contact will be via email or virtual meetings)

Core Member

  • We aim to meet in person at least 4 times over a year (quarterly) but may meet more often if the group chooses to do so. Usually, at a local venue or meeting room. The meeting dates are set in advance each December for the following year. Dates will be on the Practice website in the OPL section.
  • We ensure there is time during these meetings for the Practice to give patients/members any information about changes to the Practice’s services, and for members to bring up any issues they feel could affect the wider practice population. The Practice Manager or deputy will preferably attend all meetings to present news of any developments within the Practice and respond to issues raised by OPL.  A different GP will be invited to every meeting, to ensure that all General Practitioners are given the opportunity to participate in our meetings throughout the year.
  • At the discretion of the OPL Core Members, other Practice staff or other parties from outside the Practice may also attend by invitation.
  • There is a rotational system for the role of Spokesperson (replacing the former title of Chairperson) and this role will be nominated then elected annually. The Minute Taker (replacing the former title of Secretary), will change for every meeting. All Core Members are expected to participate in these roles as required. The rota will be set in advance to allow members to plan. The Minutes of each meeting are put on the Practice website shortly after each meeting in the OPL section under ‘OPL Minutes’. This enables all patients to access up to date information on our activities.
  • Core Members will be expected to participate in ad hoc projects e.g. newsletter sub group, surveys etc. so will require a basic level of IT skills such as the ability to write/send emails and type reports/Minutes etc.
  • Any member whose work on behalf of the OPL includes work in the Practice or consulting with other patients or members of the public will be expected to sign and return a copy of the Practice's Confidentiality Agreement form to the OPL before undertaking any such activity.
  • All OPL members must abide by the Code of Conduct as shown in Appendix 1 below.


Virtual Member

  • We have a virtual group for patients who want to contribute to improving services at the Practice or wish to raise issues on behalf of patients but are unable or prefer not to become a Core Member and attend face to face meetings.
  • Virtual Members can attend the 6-monthly (twice annual) meetings via Zoom if they wish to do so along with the Core Members. These will be separate to the face-to-face meeting dates where only Core Members shall be present. The meetings will be arranged in December each year for the following year. Information of dates/times will be put on the OPL section of the Practice website. Prior to the upcoming virtual meetings, a request for agenda items will be sent from the incumbent Spokesperson to all members, (Core and Virtual) via email, for inclusion in the next meeting.
  • There is a contact form for the OPL that is used to communicate with patients and consult with them on a range of topics that affect them and the Practice. The email address is only accessible by approved members in the OPL thus ensuring confidentiality of patients who may wish to make suggestions for improvement to services, raise concerns/issues or give feedback that will facilitate the overall improvement to services. We will not disclose the names of those patients/members that contact us if they wish to remain anonymous, unless we have the patient’s express permission to do so.
  • Virtual Members can also use this email address if they have matters they wish to raise about patient services that need addressing prior to the virtual meetings. These matters will be included on the next Agenda for the following Core or Virtual meeting (whichever is the sooner).
  • It is envisaged that a bi-annual social gathering will take place and all members whether Core or Virtual will be invited to attend.
  • All Members will be required to agree and sign a Confidentiality Agreement to protect patients and the Practice.
  • There will be no limit to the number of Virtual Members.

Alternatively if you do not wish to become either a Core or a Virtual member, but would like to give your views or put any questions to the Practice Manager, you can do so by contacting us [an online form will be available shortly for this purpose] and we will forward these onto the relevant party(s) for consideration. As stated above, the OPL will not disclose the names of those patients that contact us if they wish to remain anonymous, unless we have the patient’s express permission to do so. Alternatively, the OPL meets with the Practice Manager approximately every 10 weeks for a Question & Answer session and they are separate to the formal OPL Core/Virtual Meetings. All patients may contact  the OPL  [an online form will be available shortly for this purpose]  if they would like specific comments/questions to be discussed prior to the formal meetings. This process must not be used to make formal complaints. See Complaints Procedure below.


Annual General Meeting (AGM)

  • The AGM will take place annually.  All members will be notified of the date, which shall be included on the OPL section of the Practice website at least 4 weeks prior to the AGM taking place.
  • Any Virtual Member or non member of the OPL can nominate themselves as a Core Member and can do so by making their intention known in advance of the AGM in writing to the incumbent OPL Spokesperson via the Practice address or via to the OPL.

What OPL (PPG) cannot do!

We are not a forum for individual agendas or personal complaints. Complaints must be made directly to the Practice Manager to comply with the standard NHS Complaints Procedure and will be handled under a strict code of confidentiality. Further information is on the Practice website for this purpose.



Appendix 1

OPL Code of Conduct 

  1. The OPL Membership is not based on opinions or characteristics of individuals and shall be non-political and non-sectarian, at all times respecting diversity and exemplifying its commitment to the principles contained within the Equality Act. 
  2. All Members of the OPL (including the Virtual Members) make this commitment: 
  3. To respect practice and patient confidentiality at all times. 
  4. To treat each other with mutual respect and act and contribute in a manner that is in the best interests of all patients. 
  5. To be open and flexible and to listen and support each other.
  6. Not to use the OPL as a forum for personal agendas or complaints. These should be taken forward through other appropriate channels. 
  7. To accept that the ruling of the Spokesperson or other presiding officer is final on matters relating to orderly conduct. 
  8.  Otherwise to abide by principles of good meeting practice, for example: 
  • Reading papers in advance 
  • Arriving on time (accepting that work commitments may make this difficult) 
  • Switching mobile phones to silent 
  • Allowing others to speak and be heard/respected 

Appendix 2


Equality Act 2010 

Q: What is the purpose of the Act? 

A: The Equality Act 2010 brings together a number of existing laws into one place. It sets out the personal characteristics that are protected by the law and the behaviour that is unlawful. Simplifying legislation and harmonising protection for all of the characteristics covered will help Britain become a fairer society, improve public services, and help business perform well. See link below for further information on the Government’s website.

Q: Who is protected by the Act? 

A: Everyone in Britain is protected by the Act. The "protected characteristics" under the Act are: 

  • Disability
  • Age 
  • Gender reassignment 
  • Marriage and civil partnership 
  • Pregnancy and maternity 
  • Race 
  • Religion and belief 
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation