03 April 2024

RACGP launches new, more inclusive definition of general practice to improve equity and access

The Royal Australian College of GPs (RACGP) has launched a new definition of a general practice for the purpose of accreditation (the definition), with the aim to inclusively accredit innovative models of general practice care.

The previous definition has been in place since 2013 and has limited the accreditation of innovative general practice models which cater to specific patient cohorts such as aged care and disabled patients or operating without traditional physical premises.

The new definition does however retain the requirement a practice be comprehensive, continuous, and GP-led. Practices with limited scope do not meet the new definition, such as those focusing on one body system or disease or telehealth services that cannot offer in-person consultations.

The updated definition and information on requirements for accreditation are available on the RACGP’s website, with an interpretative guide for accreditation agencies and surveyors also available.

The new definition does not impact practices that are currently accredited. Members and other stakeholders are encouraged to provide feedback on how the interpretive guide for implementation of the Standards’ requirements is working in your practice. 

RACGP Vice President Associate Professor Michael Clements said the change aims to address the needs of specific patient demographics enabling the GP and practice team to ‘unlock’ the benefits of accreditation and participation in MyMedicare.

“There are genuine general practices that offer an appropriate scope of practice that have unfortunately not been eligible for accreditation, such as outreach services for patients with a disability, or practices serving a specific patient cohort like those in aged care facilities,” he said.

“The College has launched this definition to help to achieve equity for those and similar practices. The update aims to address these issues by broadening the definition, improving inclusivity, and ensuring equitable access to accreditation and associated programs. This will ultimately improve healthcare quality and access for all patients.

“New and innovative services offering comprehensive, patient-centred, and continuous care should be encouraged and helped to meet those needs. This will improve access to high quality general practice care for many of the more at-risk members of our community.

“For these practices, accreditation will also give access to more funding though MyMedicare and other Commonwealth-funded incentives. This will also make these practice more financially viable and ultimately improve healthcare access and quality for all patients.

“The purpose of this change is to improve general practice access for patients and practice viability, while maintaining the Standards for general practices, so we’re also committed to a transparent process as the definition is implemented. We encourage members and other stakeholders to provide feedback and collaborate with us as we implement the new definition.”

Feedback can be provided via: standards@racgp.org.au. The updated definition is on the following page. For full context, visit the RACGP’s website on standards for accreditation.

Media enquiries

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