February 2021

Chair report

A message from the Chair – Dr Louise Acland

I hope you’re all settling into the new year following a challenging 2020. There’s plenty to be excited about this year as the RACGP Expert Committee – Standards for General Practices (REC-SGP) embarks on significant projects to improve safety and quality in general practice.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, access to general practice has been improved by various measures, and GPs have pivoted to new ways of working in clinical practice. This includes more stringent infection, prevention and control measures and the introduction and high uptake of telehealth consultations. We’ve developed new working groups to review and make important changes to the Standards for general practices (5th edition) (the Standards) and accompanying resources to support these areas. 

In addition, we have another working group reviewing the Standards’ content and language around recording and considering patient sex and gender. You can learn more about any of these working groups by contacting the Standards Business Unit, and I’ll provide updates throughout the year on each group’s progress.

Some important Standards consultations are also approaching or underway:

  • We’re currently reviewing The definition of a general practice for the purpose of accreditation to understand whether its current form is ‘fit for purpose’, and we’ll be calling on you for feedback in the coming weeks. 
  • The latest draft of the Standards for health services in Australian immigration detention facilities will be available for feedback in tandem with our piloting of these standards in health services. These consultations will be widely communicated when open, with details on the RACGP consultations page. 
  • The Standards for general practice residential aged care second consultation remains open for feedback and comment as we explore further partnership advocacy opportunities with aged care peak bodies. 

I look forward to a productive year ahead and hope you’ll engage with us across our Standards projects in 2021. 

Definition of a clinical team

The Standards describe the requirement that practices, and accreditation agencies, must clearly identify all members of the clinical team. Whether individual clinicians are considered members of a team or not has important, real-life implications for care quality, the financial cost of accreditation and the associated workload for practices and accreditors.  

Your practice should self-identify its clinical team members in the first instance. For circumstances when it’s still unclear to the surveyor, we’ve developed a factsheet on the definition of a clinical team for the purpose of accreditation

The factsheet includes four criteria that help determine if a practitioner is a member of the clinical team for the purpose of accreditation. A practitioner who doesn’t meet any of the criteria may still be deemed a member of the clinical team by a surveyor (based on case-by-case assessment, and with the surveyor’s justification provided).

You can access all of the RACGP Standards fact sheets on the RACGP website.

Standards for health services in Australian immigration detention facilities

We’re currently updating the Standards for health services in Australian immigration detention facilities (IDF Standards). The IDF Standards are written principally for the multidisciplinary teams of health professionals who provide care to people detained in Australian immigration detention facilities.

The first edition of the IDF Standards was published in 2007 and this update considers a diverse range of areas that need attention given how much has changed in the immigration detention setting since that time.

We initially consulted with stakeholders in 2020, including the Department of Home Affairs, and developed the current draft for piloting. With the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, we plan to pilot the IDF Standards in health services in early 2021.

Further stakeholder consultation will commence in tandem with piloting the IDF Standards and, we’ll invite you to review the latest draft and provide feedback. For more information about the IDF Standards, email standards@racgp.org.au

Standards for general practice residential aged care

As part of our ongoing consultation for the development of the Standards for general practice residential aged care (Standards for GPRAC), we met with peak aged care bodies in December 2020. We’ll continue to meet with them to consider important issues in the aged care sector, partnership advocacy opportunities and the future implementation of the Standards for GPRAC.

The latest draft of the Standards for GPRAC is available from the RACGP consultations page for your review and feedback. The consultation phase is ongoing and will continue until we’ve completed piloting, the timing of which is subject to the COVID-19 recovery phase in the aged care sector. 

For more detail on the Standards for GPRAC development process, you can watch Dr Louise Acland’s presentation about the rationale behind the development of these standards.

Endorsed resource – 5th map

5th map is a licensed, RACGP-accepted infographic, created by a practice manager for practice managers. The wall-mountable chart provides a full scope of the Standards for general practices (5th edition) at a glance by visually summarising all modules, standards, criteria and indicators to consider in preparation for accreditation.

The 5th map tool invites entire practice involvement by simplifying the accreditation process and allowing efficient allocation and tracking of tasks.

Find out more about 5th map and its accompanying Checklists tool on the 5th map website or email any enquiries to keith@5thmap.com.au

Your GP is here to help

The ‘Your GP is here to help’ leaflet provides information to consumers about the importance of having your own GP, how GPs can help, how to find a GP and more. It’s intended for use by hospital-based GP liaison officers, community health workers and similar. You can download the printable leaflet from our website.

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