May 2024


Chair report


A message from the Chair – Dr Louise Acland

Our updated definition of a general practice for the purpose of accreditation was recently launched in the Standards for general practices (5th edition).

Following consultation with members and key stakeholders over the past year, the new definition is now live and achieves greater equity in general practice accreditation. It ensures that non-traditional practices, including those who operate without their own physical premises for patient consultations, have access to accreditation and its incentives.

I recently spoke with newsGP about the new definition, highlighting our interpretive guide to support accreditation agencies and non-traditional practices to navigate assessment against the Standards under the updated definition. I look forward to hearing more from practices who are new to accreditation under the updated definition, and using their feedback to further inform the guide as well as the sixth edition Standards.

Regarding the sixth edition, the RACGP Expert Committee – Standards for General Practices (REC-SGP) continues its development of draft Standards for review by the profession. I expect to release the draft for consultation later this year.

Finally, the updated Standards for point-of-care testing are in their final stages and expected to be published soon. Accreditation to these Standards is required to claim relevant point-of-care MBS items.

Thank you for your ongoing engagement with the RACGP Standards.


Definition of a general practice for the purpose of accreditation


We recently published the new definition of a general practice for the purpose of accreditation in the Standards for general practices (5th edition).

The updated definition ensures all general practices providing comprehensive, patient-centred, whole-person and continuous care are eligible for accreditation against the Standards.

This means that access to accreditation against the Standards is extended to non-traditional general practice models, which may include mobile services (such as outreach disability services) or those servicing a specific patient cohort within facilities (eg. residential aged care facilities or disability homes). Broadening the definition of a general practice for the purpose of accreditation in this way seeks to achieve greater equity.

The update does not exclude services which are currently accredited by adding limiting parameters.

We have developed an Interpretive guide for the accreditation of general practices under the new definition of a general practice for the purpose of accreditation to assist practices seeking accreditation, and agencies and surveyors assessing practices under the new definition.

Practices who want to know about their eligibility for accreditation can contact an accreditation agency approved under the National General Practice Accreditation Scheme.


Managing high-risk results identified outside normal opening hours


We have recently updated the wording of GP2.2►E in the Standards: High-risk (seriously abnormal and life-threatening) results identified outside normal opening hours are managed by our practice.

Where previously practices needed to ensure that diagnostic services were given the contact details of the practitioner who ordered an investigation, the Standards now note that a delegated practitioner or after-hours service are appropriate alternative delegations.

GP2.2►E High-risk (seriously abnormal and life-threatening) results identified outside normal opening hours are managed by our practice.

You must:

  • have a documented policy that outlines the process for your practice’s management for high-risk results identified outside of normal opening hours
  • give diagnostic services the contact details of the practitioner who ordered the investigation or a delegated practitioner or after-hours service.

This change was made to balance the need for patients to be made aware of their high-risk results after hours, with the difficulty for GPs to be available at all hours. This change was made in collaboration with the Royal College of Pathologists Australasia (RCPA) and reflects feedback from the wider diagnostic sector.

We have published a fact sheet to assist GPs and practice teams in the application of this indicator.


Guidance on out-of-cycle assessment of general practices


The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) recently released guidance on the requirements for out-of-cycle assessments of general practices.

The ACSQHC advisory outlines requirements for an out-of-cycle assessment based on the way a practice has changed within its accreditation cycle. This may impact your practice if it experiences:

  • change of ownership and governance
  • change of key members of the leadership team, or a prolonged gap in hiring key personnel
  • significant increase in complexity of the scope of service provision
  • a merger with other general practices.

Refer to the ACSQHC website for more information, including the impact such changes may have on current accreditation certification and expiry.


Privacy Awareness Week


This week (6-12 May) is Privacy Awareness Week (PAW) 2024.

This year’s PAW theme is ‘power up’, inspiring individuals and organisations to focus on privacy and technology, along with the key principles of transparency, accountability and security.

How you enact and maintain privacy in your practice is critical to safe patient care. Core Standard 6 of the Standards – Information management – addresses effective systems for managing patient information, including your practice’s privacy policy and measures.

We invite you to review how your practice manages the privacy of patient health information, particularly in relation to indicators at Criterion C6.3 – Confidentiality and privacy of health and other information. Supporting resources include:

You can find out more about PAW 2024 on the OAIC website.


Health of the Nation survey 2024


The RACGP’s annual Health of the Nation survey plays a crucial role in advocacy for GPs and their patients: it’s your chance to help shape the future of general practice in Australia.

This year’s focus is innovation in general practice, including the barriers and enablers to progress.

If you love general practice, but think things need to change (be it funding, red tape, regulations, or work-life balance), don’t miss out on having your say.

The survey closes at 11.59 pm AEST on 12 May 2024.

Complete the survey now.


End of Life Law for Clinicians


End of Life Law for Clinicians (ELLC) is a free Australian Government-funded national training program for GPs, practice nurses, and other health professionals about end of life decision-making laws.

ELLC has released a new guide to Meeting Quality and Practice Standards in Primary and Community Care. It shows how each ELLC training module aligns with the Standards for general practices (5th edition), and other national quality standards for end of life care. Module completion can be used by general practices to demonstrate training and quality improvement, and to support accreditation.

ELLC is an RACGP-approved CPD activity under the RACGP CPD Program for 11 hours (8.5 Educational Activity hours and 2.5 Reviewing Performance hours). There are 13 modules covering topics including:

  • when consent to medical treatment is required
  • whether a person has decision-making capacity
  • when an Advance Care Directive must be followed
  • who is a person’s substitute decision-maker
  • when life-sustaining treatment may be withheld or withdrawn
  • administering pain and symptom relief
  • voluntary assisted dying.

For further information download the ELLC training curriculum, or contact ELLC at endoflifelaw@qut.edu.au.


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