The independent review, commissioned by the Department of Health (DoH), has been designed to reveal the barriers and incentives for general practices participating in accreditation and highlight areas for improvement.
It will also explore existing accreditation models, issues for accrediting agencies providing services to general practices, alternate accreditation models, and potential overlaps between general practice and educational accreditation.
RACGP Expert Committee – Standards for General Practices Chair Dr Louise Acland is encouraging anyone who has an interest or experience with accreditation to provide feedback, including GPs, practice owners, practice managers and nursing staff.
‘It touches on every practice that is accredited in terms of the questions that it raises,’ she said.
‘We’re particularly keen to hear about issues that might be preventing practices that are not currently accredited [from becoming accredited]. What are some potential barriers there?
‘The aim of this review is to improve the process. To make it more streamlined … and to perhaps eliminate some of the duplication or multiple types of accreditation that practices have to go through.’
To inform the review, mpconsulting – the independent agency undertaking the review – is seeking stakeholder views on:
- the extent to which the National General Practice Accreditation (NGPA) Scheme supports quality, safety and continuous improvement in general practice
- the strengths and limitations of the NGPA Scheme, including the barriers and incentives to participation by general practices and challenges for accrediting agencies
- areas for improvement.
The consultation is designed to gather stakeholder feedback on the strengths and limitations of general practice accreditation and its intersection with educational accreditation.
A potential area for reform highlighted by Dr Acland is the fact that practices currently need to undertake a host of different processes, depending on the type of accreditation they require and where they are located.
‘If practices want to be accredited against the standards, then that’s one process. If practices want to have registrars, then they are required to be accredited against another set of standards,’ she said.
‘If practices want to do particular procedures – for example, if practices are involved in undertaking spirometry for the Coal Miners Workers’ Health Scheme – then there’s a different accreditation assessment that they need to do.
‘So this [review] is hoping to … make it more accessible and user friendly for general practices, with the hope that more general practices will opt to become accredited.’
Aside from general practices, Dr Acland said the review will also consider the potential market pressures that accreditation agencies are experiencing to determine whether there are significant contextual differences for the accreditation of different types of general practices.
‘At the moment, the standards apply to every practice, no matter where you’re located, whether you’re rural or remote, or if you’re an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation,’ she said.
‘But are there particular considerations or specificities around those groups that need to be taken into consideration?
‘This is quite an overarching review and it’s a good opportunity for all stakeholders to give their views to [the Federal] Government about the process.’
The consultation period is open until midnight on 8 September and all feedback will inform a final report to be delivered to the DoH in October 2021.