May 2021

Chair report

A message from the Chair – Dr Louise Acland

On behalf of the RACGP Expert Committee – Standards for General Practices (REC-SGP), I’m delighted to share recent news that, from 1 November 2021, you’ll be able to claim a Medicare item for point-of-care glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) tests. The RACGP and REC-SGP have long advocated for Medicare-funded point-of-care testing.

We believe the item for HbA1c tests will only be available to practitioners working in a practice accredited against the RACGP Standards for point-of-care testing (5th edition). These standards are accredited by the International Society for Quality in Health Care and were developed to improve the quality and safety of point-of-care testing performed by health services. The RACGP will communicate more information about this new Medicare item when details are confirmed by the Department of Health.

You may also have seen our consultation around the RACGP’s definition of a general practice for the purpose of accreditation. We asked members and stakeholders if the definition reflected all contemporary practices, and we received a large number of responses to our questionnaire. We also hosted three workshops to delve further into some of the themes tied to the consultation question. I was very pleased to see the level of engagement with this consultation and the breadth of feedback we received. It’s certainly provided extensive food for thought for the REC-SGP as we examine what changes are necessary and suitable to ensure general practice services have access to accreditation and the quality and safety assurance it provides to our patients. I’ll bring you more updates on the definition as we progress its review.

Thank you for your ongoing engagement with the RACGP Standards.

The definition of a general practice for the purpose of accreditation

The REC-SGP and Standards Business Unit would like to thank everyone who participated in our recent consultation on the definition of a general practice for the purpose of accreditation, either by completing our questionnaire, making a submission or attending one of our workshops. The feedback we received was detailed and varied and represented views from across the profession. The REC-SGP will use this feedback to review the current definition and determine whether changes are needed to ensure the definition is fit for purpose.

We’ll communicate any decisions surrounding the definition to all members and stakeholders, along with details for further consultation, if needed.


Aged Care Royal Commission

The RACGP welcomes the Final Report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, which was released in March this year. The report makes a number of recommendations, some of which relate directly to accreditation and standards in general practice. 

Recommendation 56 stipulates a ‘new primary care model to improve access’: 

Commencing by no later than 1 January 2024, the Australian Government should implement a new voluntary primary care model for people receiving aged care. 

The new primary care model will have a number of characteristics. One characteristic notable to our profession is that ‘general practices may, if they choose, apply to the Australian Government to become accredited aged care general practices’. 

Supporting this, Recommendation 57 states that, ‘by 31 December 2021, the RACGP should amend its Standards for general practices to allow for accreditation of general practices which practise exclusively in providing primary health care to people receiving aged care in residential aged care facilities and in their own homes’.

We’re examining the impact of these recommendations on general practice and the sector more broadly. 

Standards for general practice residential aged care

We’ve released the second draft of the RACGP Standards for general practice residential aged care (1st edition) (Standards for GPRAC) for further consultation. The consultation phase for the second draft, which began in May 2020, is ongoing and will end once the pilot phase is underway. 

To ensure the Standards for GPRAC are fit for purpose, we continue to invite interested members, individuals and organisations to review the draft and provide feedback. You can find the draft on our consultations page.

Due to the impact of the pandemic and restricted access to residential aged care facilities across Australia, the Standards for GPRAC pilot has been on hold. Over the last few months, we’ve monitored the COVID-19situation closely to determine when it would be possible to restart the project. 

As COVID-19 restrictions began to lift this year, the processes to start the pilot got underway. We’ve appointed Australian General Practice Accreditation Limited to run the Standards for GPRAC accreditation pilot, and we’re currently facilitating this process. 

We’ll keep you updated on this project via the Standards News and other RACGP media.

Chaperones and observers in general practice

We recently published a new Standards factsheet, The use of chaperones and observers in general practice. This factsheet supports practices to meet the Standards' requirements for the presence of a third party during consultations. It gives advice on when to use a chaperone or observer, offering and requesting one, and more.

You can find this resource on our factsheets page.

Resource guide

We created the Resource guide to capture the wealth of information and tools available to support running a practice and accreditation. It contains useful information supplementary to the Standards to help practices meet the indicators specified in the fifth edition.

We’ve recently updated the guide with some great RACGP resources, which you can find on our website.

Fact sheet – Changes to the 5th edition

From time to time, the Standards for general practices (the Standards) are affected by changes in the external policy environment, innovations, or feedback from members. To ensure they maintain their currency, we update the Standards, when appropriate, to respond to these changes.

We’ve developed a factsheet to show you exactly where we’ve made these changes to the original publication (updated April 2021).

Standards web pages

We recently updated our standards webpages and navigation to best reflect the current suite of standards and supporting material tied to the fifth edition. From the RACGP homepage, you can navigate to all standards resources from the ‘Running a practice > Practice Standards’ dropdown menu at the top of the page.

Standards news poll

Standards News is one year old, and we’re interested in your thoughts on our newsletter. What you would like to see, and how frequently do you want to hear from us? Please give us your feedback via this two-minute survey.
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.