Terms of Reference

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) is a condition in which a person experiences repeated episodes of apnoea because of a narrowing or closure of the airway in the upper throat (pharynx) during sleep. This is caused by a decrease in muscle tone while sleeping. It results in episodes of brief awakening (which the person may or may not be aware of) to restore normal breathing.

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea is a condition that affects many people. It can be treated but is often left undiagnosed and lead to excessive daytime sleepiness resulting in diminished concentration, as well as increased risk of other medical issues, such as heart problems and stroke. It is estimated that 4% of men and 2% of women have the full syndrome, with symptoms of sleepiness, although estimates do vary. The number of people affected could be rising due to more people being very overweight. The percentage of people with breathing problems at night but no daytime symptoms is much higher.

As mentioned, OSA is associated with other health problems. People who are very over-weight (obese) are more at risk of developing OSA than people who are not overweight, especially people with a large neck circumference.

OSA is associated with type 2 (insulin resistant) diabetes, and is common amongst people with this form of diabetes, although the exact nature of the relationship has not been established.

Several studies have shown a link between OSA and depression, and it is suggested that the chances of developing depression increase with the severity of the OSA.

Purpose and objectives:

The role of the OSA Partnership Group will be to identify ways of raising awareness of OSA, whether with the general public, specific clinical audiences such as GPs or specific sectors such as commercial drivers, and to actively work with these groups to inform and educate with regard to the symptoms and treatment of OSA, and the implications if the condition is untreated.

Members may be asked, from time to time, to undertake actions or work on projects identified by the rest of the Group and to take responsibility for delivering these actions and projects within the timeframe specified.

Quorum and delegated authority:

The forum will operate as an information-sharing group, and as such, does not require a minimum quorate number in attendance at each meeting in order to agree actions or make decisions.

Chairperson of the group:

The meetings will be chaired by Gillian Gibbons, Director of Wychwood Communications who runs the secretariat for the group.

Membership Organisations:


Organisation and reporting:

The full group will meet at least once a year, with individual groups of members meeting in the interim to move forward agreed actions.  Minutes will be circulated to the full group membership.

The agenda and papers will be circulated two weeks in advance of the meeting and minutes within 10 days of the meeting.

It is agreed that the group will be non-commercial and this will be reflected by   member organisations. The group acknowledges that it was established through a ResMed initiative and it has been agreed that while there will be no right to membership, the company will offer unconditional support by providing a venue for the meetings and administration support through Wychwood Communications.

This definition has been developed from material provided by the British Lung Foundation.