August 2021

Chair report

A message from the Chair – Dr Louise Acland

In previous editions of Standards News, I’ve reported on the review of the RACGP’s definition of a general practice for the purpose of accreditation (the definition) by the RACGP Expert Committee – Standards for General Practices (REC-SGP). The REC-SGP is continuing to discuss the results of our consultation and the implications for the profession, noting the diverse feedback we received. In reviewing the outcomes of the consultation, we’ve considered the qualities of general practice members regard as defining of the profession: holistic, patient-centred and continuous care. I’ll continue to update you as we work toward a solution that supports all models of quality general practice.

In standards development news, our development of the Standards for health services in Australian prisons is progressing this month. The project’s working group is meeting to formulate a draft to be piloted later in the year. Alongside the pilot, we’ll provide the latest draft for stakeholder consultation. We’re eager to hear your thoughts, which could help shape the final standards.

The REC-SGP and our associated working groups have also been finalising updates to the Standards for general practices (5th edition) related to telehealth, following the increase in telehealth consultations in the last year. The updates include clarification of requirements, as well as suggestions and explanatory materials for practices that provide telehealth services. The changes are important to ensure the provision of safe, quality telehealth services and will be included in the fifth edition this year. These changes, along with updates to language and advice on collecting and recording patient sex and gender information, will be finalised soon.

Thank you for your ongoing engagement with the RACGP Standards. 

Independent review of general practice accreditation arrangements

The Federal Department of Health (DoH) has begun an independent review of general practice accreditation arrangements under the National General Practice Accreditation Scheme.

The review will explore existing and alternative accreditation models, incentives and barriers to accreditation for general practices; issues for accrediting agencies; and overlaps between general practice and educational accreditation. Interested members are invited to share their experiences of the accreditation process via the DoH website.

The DoH has engaged consultancy firm MPS Consulting to complete the review. You can find more information on how you can participate via the DoH website

Standards for general practice in residential aged care

We’ve contracted Australian General Practice Accreditation Limited to run the piloting of the Standards for general practice residential aged care, and recruitment of participating sites has started. Piloting activities, including site visits, will happen in due course.

In the meantime, our second consultation phase will be open until piloting concludes. We’ll keep you updated on the consultation close date once the pilot site visits are underway.

Patient feedback: Using a practice-specific method

Collecting and responding to feedback about your patients’ experiences can improve clinical effectiveness and patient safety, as well as preventive care, such as the use of screening services and immunisations. Patients appreciate knowing their feedback is taken seriously and acted on when possible.

Criterion QI1.2 of the RACGP Standards for general practices (5th edition) requires practices to collect feedback in line with the requirements of the Patient feedback guide. We provide an approved questionnaire for practices to use. However, if your practice wants a more tailored patient experience, you can develop a practice-specific patient feedback method or modify our questionnaire to suit your patient cohort.

Modified or practice-specific methods must meet the requirements of the Patient feedback guide. We review applications for practice-specific methods against the Patient feedback guide and work with practices to create effective solutions. Refer to the Patient feedback guide for more information on how to gain approval for your practice’s feedback method or contact for more information.

Resource guide: Responsive system for patient care

Our Resource guide is updated regularly to include useful information that complements and supports the Indicators specified in the Standards.

The Resource guide now includes a range of valuable telehealth resources to support you if your practice provides these services. Several new additions support practices meeting Criterion GP 1.1 – Responsive system for patient care:

Federal Budget 2021–22 and aged care: Positive implications for general practice

We welcomed the Federal Budget 2021–22, released in May this year, which includes key health announcements representing a direct response to the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety and positive implications for general practice.

The Federal Government has committed $17.7 billion to aged care. Alongside these measures, $1.8 billion has been allocated to primary healthcare, which includes:

  • funding to extend telehealth arrangements until 31 December 2021
  • a doubling of Aged Care Access Incentive payments
  • increases for rural bulk billing
  • support for the continued role of general practice in administering COVID-19 vaccinations.

Notably, the Federal Government has provided $42.8 million to raise the Aged Care Access Incentive from 1 July 2021 to increase face-to-face servicing by GPs in residential aged care facilities. The maximum yearly payment received by GPs will double to $10,000. This funding arrangement will allow GPs to provide quality general practice in aged care settings.

Contact us and stay in touch

If you have any thoughts on our newsletter and the content you’d like us to provide, our two-minute survey is open for your feedback.

If you know someone who would like to receive this newsletter, refer them to the RACGP Standards News page to subscribe. Alternatively, have them email with their name, position and email address. You can contact the RACGP Standards team at this address any time for more information or assistance.

We encourage you to connect with the RACGP through our social network platforms, including Facebook and Twitter

The RACGP does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage that may result from reliance on, or the use of, any information contained in this newsletter.