July 2020

Chair report

A message from the Chair – Dr Louise Acland

Welcome to the first edition of Standards News – a quarterly newsletter bringing you important updates from the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) on the Standards for general practices, related standards, accreditation news, resources and events.

We have introduced this newsletter to communicate the work of the RACGP Expert Committee – Standards for General Practices (REC-SGP) and Standards Business Unit to members, practice staff and any interested stakeholders. We welcome feedback and suggestions on what you would like to hear from us, and encourage you to share the newsletter among your networks. Anyone interested in receiving Standards News can register their interest here, or by emailing standards@racgp.org.au

The REC–SGP and its associated working groups have been busy developing three new sets of Standards over the past 18 months. 

The new Standards for general practice residential aged care (Standards for GPRAC) have been developed for the first time to support and enhance the delivery of quality and safe general practitioner (GP) care to residents in residential aged care facilities (RACFs). The Standards for GPRAC have been developed by the RACGP to align with the requirements of the Aged Care Quality Standards and in consultation with GPs, RACFs, practice managers, nurses, consumers, subject matter and technical experts, and many other stakeholders.

The second consultation for the Standards for GPRAC is now open, with no current closing date due to the COVID-19 restrictions limiting the ability to pilot the Standards for GPRAC. An end date for the consultation will be announced once activity commences again. We encourage all interested stakeholders to provide input.

The second editions of both the Standards for health services in Australian prisons (Prison Standards) and the Standards for health services in Australian immigration detention facilities (IDF Standards) are also well into development, each adapting the modular format of the Standards for general practices (5th edition). These sets of Standards support health professionals and their employer organisations to provide high quality healthcare to people in custodial or restricted settings.

All three sets of Standards in development aim to ensure that their respective patient populations are provided with safe, quality and culturally responsive care. While the onset of measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 this year has meant a delay to piloting these Standards, the work on each project has progressed significantly and we are currently consulting with members and stakeholders on the current drafts that will be used for piloting once a COVID-19 recovery phase has commenced.

Thank you for your ongoing engagement in these and other Standards projects. We hope this newsletter keeps you up to date on our developments and look forward to bringing you regular future updates. 

What's new

Standards for general practices (5th edition)

Maintaining vaccine potency

The Standards for general practices (the Standards) are updated from time to time to reflect contemporary practice, systems and processes. The Standards (5th edition) were recently updated to reflect changes to the National vaccine storage guidelines: Strive for 5. Specific changes focus on the new requirement that vaccines must be stored in a purpose-built vaccine refrigerator and that domestic refrigerators are no longer acceptable. You can read the updated explanatory notes at GP6.1 – Maintaining vaccine potency.


Research has been updated in the Standards (5th edition). The RACGP received feedback from stakeholders that the previous requirements set out in Criterion C3.6 – Research may have had an unintended restricting effect on general practice research.

To address this barrier, a rigorous review and consultation process was undertaken to update the Criterion and relevant explanatory notes. Our online Standards have been updated accordingly.

The changes require practices to confirm that the appropriate indemnity is in place for research, based on the level of risk. More information is available at Criterion C3.6, or in the Research FAQ.

Accreditation agencies

General practices who wish to gain formal accreditation against the Standards are required to do so via an independent accreditation agency. There are now five Australian accreditation agencies that general practices are able to choose from to gain accreditation against the Standards:

To commence the process of gaining accreditation against the Standards, a general practice should choose an accreditation agency that will be able to talk them through this process, explain what is required and support them throughout the accreditation process.

Standards resources

Patient feedback

Criterion QI1.2 of the RACGP Standards for general practices (5th edition) requires practices to collect feedback in accordance with the requirements of the Patient feedback guide. A questionnaire must collect patient demographic information and include at least three questions from each of six themes.

There are a range of options for collecting feedback about patients’ experiences, including the use of one of the following: 

  • A commercial tool that has been approved by the RACGP
  • The RACGP practice specific questionnaire, unmodified
  • Your practice’s modified version of the RACGP questionnaire, subject to RACGP approval
  • Another practice specific method that adheres to the requirements outlined in the RACGP Patient feedback guide.
Find out more at the RACGP patient feedback page.

Standards FAQs

The Standards team produce a number of fact sheets to assist general practices meet various accreditation requirements. We recently provided an updated fact sheet to assist practices meeting the requirements of having a height-adjustable bed (as per Criterion GP5.2 – Practice equipment), including suggested specifications and access options. 

If you are looking at how you can accredit your practice against the Standards for general practices (5th edition), the Standards Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) is a great place to start, or you can email standards@racgp.org.au with any questions.

Access all of the RACGP Standards fact sheets here.
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.