Basic Life Support (BLS)

CPD requirement for BLS/CPR

The intention of the BLS/CPR requirement is to ensure all Australian GPs maintain their skills and competency to perform BLS/CPR procedures on a patient or member of the community as and when it is needed.

The RACGP recognises that BLS/CPR skills are used infrequently, and thus may diminish.

Evidence suggests the most important determinant of survival from sudden cardiac arrest is the presence of a trained rescuer who is ready, willing, able and equipped to act.

Furthermore, basic life support skills are expected of health care providers as part of their duty to respond. The RACGP Standards for General Practice (5th Edition) requires each practice to have “equipment that enables us to provide comprehensive primary care and emergency resuscitation.”

The Australian Resuscitation Council (ARC) guidelines recommend that updates should be completed at least annually. In support of the RACGP standards and the latest evidence, it is a requirement of the CPD Program that GPs maintain basic life support skills through the completion of a BLS/CPR course that meets the ARC guidelines.

GPs have a duty to respond to sudden cardiac arrest and are expected to perform BLS/CPR procedures in accordance with current ARC guidelines and techniques, without the assistance of specialist emergency services or equipment if required to do so.

Criteria specific to this CPD requirement

For RTO accredited courses:

  • Any RTO accredited course, delivered to code HLTAID009, will be accepted to meet the CPD requirement of 1 BLS/CPR activity per triennium.
  • Courses delivered under the superseded course code HLTAID001 earlier in the triennium will also be accepted.
For any non-RTO accredited courses (e.g. hospital-based delivery):
  • GPs are required to complete a BLS/CPR course that meets the ARC guidelines
  • Courses must be a minimum of one hour
  • BLS/CPR trainers must have been trained by an ARC representative member or be Fellows of ACEM and/or ANZCA currently working in Emergency Departments. BLS courses delivered by instructors who do not hold a current and valid trainers certificate will not be accepted.
  • ALS courses must include assessment of CPR within the course to be accepted with BLS/CPR recognition (some ALS courses require CPR assessment as a prerequisite and therefore do not assess this criteria)
  • All training courses are required to physically assess CPR competence – learners must be able to physical demonstrate CPR on a mannequin on the floor upon completion of the course. This may include virtual demonstration via videoconference, however online courses without physical demonstration will not be accepted.

BLS courses and COVID-19

As of 22 June 2022, the Australian Industry and Skill Committee, on the advice of the Australian Resuscitation Council (ARC) and First Aid Industry Reference Committee (IRC), deemed that all reasonable adjustments implemented during the pandemic should be removed by the 1st of September 2022.

This means that training and assessment activities undertaken during First Aid and CPR courses will revert to pre-covid conditions. Specifically, learners will be required to demonstrate rescue breathing techniques on manikins and not simulate such skills to the side of the manikin as previously allowed during the pandemic.

Further detail regarding this decision can be found here.

Additional ALS/BLS information

GPs who cannot physically perform CPR will need to:

  • provide a medical certificate or statutory declaration stating that the GP has a disability or medical condition that prevents the GP from physically being able to perform BLS/CPR.
  • inform the RACGP in writing about measures undertaken within the GPs medical practice to ensure that the GP is prepared for a situation requiring BLS/CPR.

BLS and ALS requirements for candidates/registrars who are on the pathway to Fellowship

The BLS and ALS course content requirements for registrars are quite specific. For details on the types of courses that meet the ALS and BLS requirements for registrars see the Basic Life Support and Advanced Life Support Courses Guidance Document available from our education services policies page.