Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

GPs need to maintain their skill to perform CPR procedures

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

The RACGP recognises that 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 healthcare providers as part of their duty to respond. The RACGP Standards for General Practice (4th edition) recommends ‘practices need to have the necessary equipment for comprehensive primary care and resuscitation’.

The RACGP Standards recommend undertaking a refresher in CPR competence every three years.

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 QI&CPD Program that GPs maintain basic life support skills through the completion of a CPR course that meets the ARC guidelines.

GPs have a duty to respond to sudden cardiac arrest and are expected to perform 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 CPR

  • GPs are required to complete a CPR course that meets the ARC guidelines
  • Courses must be a minimum of one hour
  • Courses can be either a Category 2 accredited activity or form part of a Category 1 accredited activity
  • ALS courses must meet the RACGP QI&CPD requirements
  • Training courses are required to assess CPR competence – learners must be able to physical demonstrate CPR on a mannequin on the floor upon completion of the course

GPs working in anaesthetics or emergency medicine need to supply current evidence of training in CPR or Advanced Life Support (ALS).

  • ALS meets the RACGP CPR requirements
  • Training courses are required to assess CPR competence. At the completion of the course learners must be able to physically demonstrate CPR on a mannequin on the floor.
  • GPs who cannot physically perform CPR will need to:
    • provide a medical certificate or declaration stating that the GP has a disability or medical condition that prevents the GP from physically being able to perform 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 CPR.

CPR trainer/GP educator requirements

CPR trainers must have been trained by an ARC representative member, which includes training delivered by:

  1. The following organisations:
    1. St John Ambulance Australia, College of Emergency Nursing Australasia, Australian Red Cross, Council of Ambulance Authorities, Surf Lifesaving Australia, Australian College of Nursing, Paramedics Australasia, Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists, Australasian College of Emergency Medicine, Royal Life Saving Society Australia, Heart Foundation, Australian Defence Force, Australian College of Critical Care Nurses and Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand
    2. Instructors who deliver CPR training to GPs must hold a current and valid CPR trainer certificate that complies with the policies of the ARC and RTO standard HLTAID001.CPR courses delivered by instructors who do not hold a current valid trainers certificate will not be accepted
  2. Organisations that are Registered Training Organisation (RTO) credentialed to deliver and provide CPR
  3. Fellows of FACEM and ANZCA in rural Emergency Departments
  4. HLTCPR211A is valid until 1 July 2014 and after this date CPR should be provided under HLTAID001 unless the RTO provides satisfactory documentation of approved extensions to deliver HLTCPR211A

CPR and ALS requirements for candidates/registrars who are on the pathway

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