May 2023

Chair report

A message from the Chair – Dr Louise Acland

We’ve recently finished consulting with the profession on an updated draft definition of a general practice for the purpose of accreditation. The draft definition, developed by the RACGP Expert Committee – Standards for General Practices (REC-SGP), aims at broadening accreditation access to all general practices that provide comprehensive, patient-centred, whole-person and continuous care to their patients.

Thank you to those who have provided feedback during the consultation. Your submissions have highlighted important areas for the RACGP to consider. The REC-SGP is reviewing these submissions and we’ll discuss these with relevant stakeholders, including the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) and Department of Health and Aged Care (DoHAC). We’ll share details on the outcomes and any changes to the definition in the coming months.

We’re also working on updating the Standards for point-of-care testing (PoCT Standards) to ensure they are contemporary and evidence-based. The goal of these standards is to improve the quality and safety of point-of-care testing conducted in general practices. We’re committed to seeking ongoing accreditation of the PoCT Standards with the International Society for Quality and Safety in Health Care.

As we continue to prepare for a draft sixth edition Standards for general practices, I encourage you to engage with the open consultation seeking thoughts on the current, fifth edition. While drafts will be made available to the profession throughout the development of the next edition, this is an early opportunity to help shape our work. More information is available in this newsletter.

In this edition of Standards news:

Thank you for your ongoing engagement with the RACGP Standards.

Practice Owners National Conference

As health systems across the country face escalating pressure and general practice is asked to do even more with less, it’s never been more important to pool our knowledge and learn from the experts and each other. The Practice Owners National Conference offers you the tools and information you need to run a practice in a changeable environment.

Join us in Adelaide from 20-21 May 2023 to share knowledge, ideas and motivation. You’ll hear from RACGP and industry experts on managing Medicare compliance and billing, juggling CPD requirements and handling the business pressures facing practices today.

Come along and tackle the pressing issues facing practice ownership and future-proof your practice! Registrations are now open for all existing and aspiring practice owners and practice managers.

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

We’ve made important updates to the Standards for general practices (5th edition), recognising the importance of practices being  prepared for potential clinical emergencies. 

These changes include immediate access to an electrocardiograph and an automatic external defibrillator (AED).

All changes are outlined in this factsheet.

The following indicators have been updated to “flagged” (mandatory) to reflect these complex healthcare needs:

  • GP1.1►C – Our recorded phone message advises patients to call 000 in case of an emergency.
  • GP5.2►E – Our practice has a defibrillator.

In addition, electrocardiograph is now included in the list of mandatory practice equipment (GP5.2►A), while practices must maintain the current requirement for timely access to a spirometer (GP5.2►D).

Accredited general practices will have 12 months from the publication of the changes (February 2023) to meet these new requirements. This transition period is consistent with all previous updates to the Standards. General practices that already have the required systems and equipment in place will be assessed as having ‘met’ these requirements at their accreditation.

When we made these updates in late February, we advised a change from cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to basic life support (BLS) training for all practice staff.

After considering member feedback and the unintended consequences of the proposed change, we’ve decided to revert this requirement back to CPR for all clinical and non-clinical staff (to complete CPR training at least once every three years).

Strengthening Medicare – General Practice (GP) Grants Program

The Department of Health and Aged Care’s (DoHAC) Strengthening Medicare – General Practice (GP) Grants Program was recently announced for general practices and eligible Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs).

The GP Grants will support all general practices and eligible ACCHOs across Australia to make investments in innovation, training, equipment, and minor capital works across three investment streams:

  • enhancing digital health capability
  • upgrading infection prevention and control arrangements
  • maintaining and/or achieving accreditation against the Standards.

Grants will be delivered through local Primary Health Networks (PHNs) and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), who will be providing more information to practices.

For more information, visit DoHAC’s website.

Developing the next edition of the Standards for general practice

We’re currently in the initial phase of preparing for the sixth edition Standards for general practices (the Standards). The RACGP Expert Committee – Standards for General Practices (REC-SGP) is:

  • evaluating the Standards against both the quadruple aim (patient experience, population health, reducing costs and provider experience) and the accreditation principles of the International Society for Quality in Health Care International Society for Quality in Health Care
  • exploring how the Standards address all general practice services as we continue to review and consult on the definition of a general practice for the purpose of accreditation.

As we prepare for the development of the next edition Standards, we’re seeking your feedback on the current, fifth edition. If you have any feedback on the current Standards, email

Winter planning toolkit

With winter around the corner, revisit our winter planning toolkit. The toolkit provides guidance and support for your practice to implement winter-preparedness activities, ensuring the health and safety of your patients and practice team. The topics include:

The toolkit considers the impact of respiratory infections in the community and highlights key priorities and principles of infection prevention and control, workforce protection and planning, processes for patient management, managing the risk of cross-infection, and the health and wellbeing of staff.   

Standards for general practice – Web version

Last year, we created the web-based version of the Standards in html format. This has provided several advantages, including:

  • the ability to efficiently update the Standards as needed
  • link accompanying resources to the appropriate criteria within the Standards
  • maintain links to external resources.

The web version of the Standards has now replaced the previous PDF. The currently available PDF on the website has been updated recently with the emergency management changes to the Standards (February 2023). Future changes will not be applied to this PDF version.

We encourage you to view the Standards via the RACGP website for easy and up-to-date access. Please note that other copies of the Standards (hard copy or PDF) can no longer be considered current. If you download the Standards to your device, we encourage you to update it regularly.

We’ll continue to let you know of any updates to the Standards via this newsletter and other RACGP channels.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) FAQ

We provide detail on how to meet the relevant cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training indicators in the Standards for general practices (5th edition). Our updated factsheet, Frequently asked questions for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) requirements in general practices, breaks down the requirements for CPR training in relation to the Standards and Continued Professional Development (CPD).

Infection prevention and control guidelines

If you missed our March webinar on the new Infection prevention and control guidelines for general practices and other office-based and community-based practices (the IPC Guidelines), you can access the recording and FAQs on our website.

Hosted by members of the technical working group who developed the IPC Guidelines, the webinar explored critical aspects of infection prevention and control in general practice.

The IPC Guidelines give you updated guidance on planning and implementing high standards of infection prevention and control in your workplace. They are intended as a guide to help health professionals in office-based practices implement infection prevention and control procedures. Practices aren’t accredited against the IPC Guidelines, but may refer to them in meeting relevant criteria in the Standards for general practices (5th edition).

New Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) education webpage

The Funding and Health System Reform team recently published a webpage with links to Medicare and compliance education resources.

Collating resources in a central location means you don’t have to search across multiple websites to find what you're looking for. Links are grouped under key themes listed in alphabetical order so you can easily locate the information you need.

The resources come from the Department of Health and Aged Care, Services Australia and RACGP and include MBS explanatory notes, fact sheets, education guides, eLearning programs, infographics and case studies.

There’s been a lot of discussion about the need for more education on the MBS and the RACGP is working to identify gaps by reviewing existing materials – but there is so much out there already that you may not know about.

We encourage you to bookmark this page as it will be updated as new resources become available. If you have any questions, contact

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