Constitution for Lapal Medical Practice
Patient Participation Group (PPG)
All 6,700 patients of Lapal Medical Practice are members of the PPG. However if patient participation is to be effective it needs to be organized and coherent.
Role of the PPG:
Patient Participation Groups emerged from the Health and Social care Act 2012 and have been a requirement for every practice in England since the 1st April 2015. There are two important functions for PPGs.
The PPG is a forum for effective communication between the Health Care professionals and management of Lapal Medical Practice and the patients that they serve. This should enable improved knowledge of the services provided for the patients by the Practice with the opportunity to assess the accessibility of those services. It also provides the opportunity to disseminate key Health Care issues to the patients of the Practice. Suggestions for improving services may emerge from time to time which will need to be considered within the limits of the resources available.
Another key function is the formation of a partnership between the doctors and the patients to encourage healthy lifestyles and take measures necessary to keep as fit and active as possible and enable the most efficient use of NHS resources. Progress in this area is only possible through an effective partnership.
The Action Group:
The engine room of the PPG is the Action Group which is the interface between the Practice and the patients. It is made up of three members of the Practice Team; one of the General Practitioners, the Practice Manager and the Chief Receptionist together with nine patients. Twelve is felt to be a reasonable working number for the Action Group. It is this group that takes the decisions that will improve communications, sets the Agenda for the year, establishes a Health Awareness Programme, and provides a continuous flow of information via the Notice Board and PPG section of the Practice web site. The Action group as the name implies is just that, it has a clear view of the goals that need to be achieved and makes sure they are achieved.
Initially two meetings are to be held each year approximately 6 months apart. As many patients registered at the Practice will be invited to attend as possible, when the role and activities of the PPG are explained and there is the opportunity for questions and discussion which can influence the direction that the PPG takes. The first Engagement Meeting took place on the 24th June 2015.
New Members for the Action Group:
The patients forming the current Action Group were recruited after the Practice Team had asked for volunteers on prescriptions and at reception. The tenure of members of the Action Group is set out below. There will be a degree of natural turnover as individual circumstances change. There needs to be a list maintained of those who would like to join the Action Group by the Chair shared with the Deputy Chair and Honorary Secretary. The main criterion for joining is enthusiasm for doing an important and worthwhile job, and being able and willing to make an ongoing contribution. Potential members need to be aware that much business is carried out by e-mail between meetings. The ability to attend the 4 to 6 weekly meetings regularly is important, as that is when discussion and decision making occurs. It is important to try and ensure that the Action Group reflects the whole patient group including significant ethnic minorities as far as possible. Gender balance is particularly important as it is well-established that males avoid going to see the doctor often leaving things rather late in the day. A balanced Action Group should have a better understanding of the needs of both male and female patients. The same applies to age and ethnicity. It may be necessary to preferentially select members on such grounds when their are more potential members than can be accommodated on the Action Group.
Terms of Tenure for the Patients:
Normally 2 years renewable by mutual consent with a maximum of two terms. Ideally the whole Group of patients should not leave at one time.
The patients to nominate candidates for the Chair. If more than one candidate emerges there to be a written ballot conducted by the Practice Manager with the result decided by a simple majority. The tenure of the Chair would be two years renewable by mutual consent with a maximum of two terms. A key job for the Chair is to keep the Vice Chair appraised of exactly what is happening and ensure the approval of the Practice is forthcoming. Ideally we need a Deputy Chair to cover the very occasional absence of the Chair.
The Vice Chair:
Is automatically the General Practitioner assigned to the Group. Needs to liaise closely with the Chair and their Practice colleagues. One of the other General Practitioners in the Practice may deputize for the Vice Chair if the Vice Chair is unable to attend.
The Finance Officer or Treasurer:
Nominations for this post would be invited from the patients. If there were more than one nomination a written ballot would be organized by the Practice Manager. The result to be decided by a simple majority. Tenure would normally be two years renewable by mutual consent with a maximum of two terms.. It is the responsibility of the Finance Officer to keep an Account Book of all Income and Expenditure and to pay for any expenses incurred by the PPG. This would be using the account that the Group has established with the TSB. No expenditure can be authorized by the Finance Officer without a valid receipt. Expenditure must not exceed the available income. A statement of the Account should be made every 3 months at the full PPG meeting.
The Minute Secretary:
Nominations for this post would be invited from the patients. If there were more than one nomination a written ballot would be organized by the Practice Manager. The result to be decided by a simple majority. Tenure would normally be for two years renewable by mutual consent with a maximum of two terms. The Minute Secretary to keep concise notes of each meeting with a list of all those attending the meeting. The names of those needing to do things should appear in the margin. These Notes to be circulated by e-mail initially to the Chair and Finance officer and then to all members and approved at the next meeting.
Notice Board Secretary:
All the roles of the Group are important and this one is especially so. The Notice Board is a visible presence in the Waiting Room for all visiting patients to see. It is a place to make them aware that there is a PPG and what it is doing. Nominations for this post to come from the patients and if there is more than one then there should be a written ballot with the result decided by a simple majority. Tenure would normally be for two years renewable by mutual consent with a maximum of two terms.
If any project needs IT advice outside the small group working on it advice may be available with other members of the Group e.g. Helena Taylor. The Clinical Commissioning Group have some expertise in this area.
Meetings of the PPG:
To be held regularly at four to six weekly intervals. Wednesday at lunchtime commencing normally at 1 or 2pm is best for the Practice members of the Group there being no Surgeries on that afternoon. A quorum would normally be at least 3 patients which should include the Chair or the Deputy Chair and the Vice Chair or Deputy. A quorum would be necessary for all key decisions but not for meetings to discuss items already agreed or plans for the future. A schedule of meetings to be prepared in advance preferably at the start of the year for the year ahead so that dates can go in diaries.
During the first hour of the meeting every effort should be made to ensure all key items on the Agenda requiring input and approval from both the Practice and the patients should be covered. After this time there should be an opportunity for the patients to discuss their plans for the future and how they are going to implement them for up to one further hour.
Communication and discussion are the key to success. Between meetings there will be the need for frequent e-mail communications to keep everybody informed about what is happening. This can be supplemented by telephone calls but documents cannot be transferred in this way.
We have a modest initial budget of £1000 for the first two years. Funding is currently uncertain after this time. It is the job of the Chair and the Finance Officer to put together applications for funding which can be approved by the Group as a whole. Approval can be achieved in principle by informing members of the Group what items require some expenditure and how much money is being requested. This may be done at one of our regular meetings or by e-mail if it becomes necessary between meetings. This money will either be transferred directly into the LMP PPG Account or we will receive a cheque to pay into the Account.
Equipment purchased by the PPG:
Every item purchased will reside with and be looked after by a designated member of the Action Group of the PPG who will be using it for the sole purposes of the organisation.
- This individual is the designated responsible person who is required to take all reasonable measures to keep equipment in good order and functioning.
- The Notes Secretary to keep a record containing the names of the responsible individuals, the items purchased, the dates of purchase and the prices paid. Copies of receipts or receipted invoices should be kept as well.
- Each entry should be signed by the individual holding the equipment.
- Each item to be clearly marked with the wording “property of LMPPPG using a Dymo labeller or its equivalent.
If the Group decides at any time on any grounds it is necessary to dissolve the Group a Special meeting should be called. If the decision to dissolve is confirmed by a simple majority of those present (a quorum must be present) the Group shall have the power to dispose of any assets held by the Group. Any assets remaining after satisfaction of any proper debts and liabilities will be transferred to a charitable or not for profit organization with similar objectives as the Group may decide and as may be approved by the Charity Commissions for England and Wales.
It is not set in stone. Circumstances will probably arise where it will need modification. Reviewing it from time to time and ensuring it is fit for purpose will be essential. It should be reviewed annually.