Standards for general practices

Introduction to the Standards for general practices (5th edition)

Accreditation

      1. Accreditation

 

Accreditation

If you want your practice to be accredited against the Standards, it must be formally assessed by an accrediting agency approved under the National General practice Accreditation Scheme (the Scheme), which commenced on 1 January 2017.

Practices that can be accredited

Before a practice or health service is eligible to be accredited against the Standards, it needs to meet three core criteria.

The three criteria:

  • The practice or health service operates within the model of general practice described in the RACGP’s definition of general practice.
  • GP services are predominantly of a general practice nature.
  • The practice or health service is capable of meeting all mandatory indicators in the Standards.

Voluntary accreditation

The RACGP supports accreditation as a voluntary scheme.

The accreditation cycle

The accreditation cycle is three years. This means that if your practice achieves accreditation against these Standards, the accreditation is valid for the remainder of the three-year cycle in which you achieved accreditation. To maintain your accreditation, you must be successfully reassessed for the next accreditation cycle.

The assessment process

If you want your general practice to be accredited, you must select an approved accreditation agency from this list of agencies available.

Each accreditation agency has trained surveyors who assess general practices. The agency you select will work with your practice to help you prepare for the accreditation process. They will also appoint a team of surveyors who visit each location from which your practice operates to assess your practice against the Standards.

Surveyor teams

Surveyor teams are comprised of at least two surveyors, one of whom must be an appropriately qualified GP surveyor and one of whom must be an appropriately qualified nurse, practice manager, allied health professional or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health worker/health practitioner with relevant experience in general practice.

Surveyor teams may include a third person, such as a non-health practitioner or consumer who has been appropriately trained in the Standards.

Fair and independent assessments

Accreditation assessments are based on common sense: the accreditation agencies will not seek to penalise or exclude a practice from accreditation due to technicalities.

The RACGP considers that an independent review of your practice that includes two or more surveyors (one GP and one or more non-GP surveyors) will foster genuine collaboration and sharing of expertise among peers.

Requirements for accreditation agencies and surveyors

The RACGP has developed requirements that accrediting agencies and surveyors must meet in order to be granted permission to use the Standards to assess general practices, as outlined below.

By ensuring that bodies have appropriate systems, processes and commitment, and that surveyors have the appropriate skills, qualifications and experience, the accreditation process has the required rigour and level of accountability.

Accrediting agencies

In order to use the Standards, accrediting agencies are required to demonstrate the following to the RACGP:

  • An in-depth understanding of
    • the Standards
    • the nature of general practice in Australia
    • requirements for training and vocational registration of GPs
  • An accreditation assessment framework that includes a single onsite assessment that is conducted once every three years at each location that the practice operates from
  • The capacity to efficiently accredit general practices across Australia
  • A governance and advisory structure that includes GPs with considerable experience in general practice
  • A commitment not to refuse an application for accreditation from a practice that meets the RACGP’s definition of a general practice, regardless of location or size
  • A commitment not to financially or otherwise discriminate against a practice because of location or size

All surveyors

Surveyors must:

  • demonstrate a good understanding of confidentiality issues relating to general practice, personal health information and patient privacy
  • meet requirements relating to their previous and recent experience
  • complete ongoing surveyor training as required by the Scheme to maintain their competence and knowledge of the Standards.

GP surveyors

GP surveyors must:

  • be vocationally registered under the Health Insurance (Vocational Registration of General Practitioners) Regulations 1989
  • hold either Fellowship of the RACGP (FRACGP) or the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) if appointed after 31 October 2017 
  • have at least five years’ full-time or equivalent part-time experience as a vocationally registered

GP and

  • be working at least two sessions a week in face-to-face patient contact in an accredited general practice, and have done so for the last two years

or

  • have worked at least two sessions a week in face-to-face patient contact in an accredited general practice within the last two years
  • satisfy their college’s requirements for their continuing professional development (CPD) program.

Non-GP surveyors

Non-GP surveyors:

  • can be an appropriately qualified nurse, practice manager, allied health professional or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health worker or health practitioner
  • must have at least five years’ full-time equivalent experience, and
  • must be working at least 16 hours a week in an accredited general practice, and have done so for the last two years

or

  • have worked at least 16 hours a week in an accredited general practice for at least two years, and not more than two years ago.

Mandatory and aspirational Indicators

Indicators marked with the symbol are mandatory, which means that your practice must demonstrate that you meet this Indicator in order to achieve accreditation against the Standards. Indicators that are not marked with the mandatory symbol are aspirational Indicators. The RACGP encourages you to meet the aspirational Indicators, but they are not essential to achieve accreditation.

Demonstrating compliance

Previous editions of the Standards dictated how practices must demonstrate compliance with the Standards (eg by interview, document review, observation).

However, because this edition of the Standards is outcomes-focused (instead of processfocused), your practice can choose how to demonstrate that you meet the intent of each Indicator, and the evidence that you choose to support this. The accreditation agency must only be satisfied that you meet the intent of each Indicator, and that you can provide appropriate evidence of this.

This approach gives you greater scope to set up systems and processes that reflect your working arrangements, which means the systems and processes will be more meaningful and relevant to your practice.

In the explanatory notes of each Criterion, there is a section titled ‘Meeting each Indicator’ that sets out the mandatory requirements of that specific Indicator, and includes some examples of what you can do to meet it. While you may find some or all of these examples useful, it is not an exhaustive list, and we encourage you to develop methods that best suit the needs of your practice.

The Resource guide

The RACGP has developed a Resource guide that contains useful supplementary information that will help your practice meet the Indicators in the Standards, 5th edn: Resource guide

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