Standards for general practices

Core module

Criterion C5.2 – Clinical autonomy for practitioners

        1. Criterion C5.2 – Clinical autonomy for practitioners


C5.2 A Our patients can access up-to-date information about the practice.

Why this is important

Professional autonomy and clinical independence are essential components of high-quality care, as clinically appropriate recommendations are in the patient’s best interests.

The intent of this Criterion is that, instead of having decisions imposed on them, the practitioner is free (within their scope of practice) to provide what they believe is the best level of care for each individual patient, based on their clinical judgement and current clinical and other guidelines.

All members of the clinical team must (within the boundaries of their knowledge, skills and competence) comply with the professional and ethical obligations required by law, their relevant professional organisation, and the practice. Information about relevant codes of conduct is available at the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).

Regular and ongoing professional development helps to maintain a practitioner’s clinical knowledge, skills and competence.

Meeting this Criterion

Practitioners are free, within the parameters of evidence-based care and their credentials, to determine:

  • the appropriate clinical care for each patient
  • the specialists and other health professionals to whom they refer patients
  • the pathology, diagnostic imaging, or other investigations they order, and the provider of these services
  • the appointment type available for each consultation, including telehealth, when clinically appropriate
  • how and when to schedule follow-up appointments with each patient.

Practitioners must still comply with the policies and procedures of the practice.

Meeting each Indicator

C5.2 A Our clinical team can exercise autonomy, to the full scope of their practice, skills and knowledge, when making decisions that affect clinical care.

You must:

  • You must:
  • give practitioners autonomy in relation to – overall clinical care of their patients
    • referrals to other health professionals
    • requesting investigations
    • duration and scheduling of appointments.

You could:

  • maintain a policy specifying that practitioners have clinical autonomy to deliver evidence-based care, according to their scope of practice, skills and knowledge.