November 2022

Chair report

A message from the Chair – Dr Louise Acland

Congratulations to Dr Abhi Verma, who was recently awarded GP of the Year at the 2022 RACGP Victoria Awards. On behalf of Abhi’s fellow RACGP Expert Committee – Standards for General Practices (REC-SGP) members, I’d like to acknowledge this tremendous achievement and Abhi’s contributions to general practice and comprehensive patient care.

As I alluded to in the last edition of Standards news, we’ve begun the journey toward a sixth edition of the Standards for general practices (the Standards). The 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 (ISQua). We’ll also explore 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. We’ll provide you with regular updates on the development of a sixth edition as this work progresses, but in the meantime, I invite you to share any feedback on the current Standards by emailing

Following the successful launch of our Winter Planning Toolkit this year, we’ll shortly be releasing a Summer Planning Toolkit to equip practices with advice and resources for the warmer months ahead. The Summer Planning Toolkit will be a ‘one-stop shop’ compiling RACGP and Standards information on summer readiness, including information on disaster preparedness for general practice, resources on epidemics and chronic diseases, and advice on keeping patients and staff safe during summer.

As the end of the year draws closer, I’d like to wish you all a safe and happy holiday period. I look forward to bringing you more news about our Standards development and accompanying projects throughout 2023.

Thank you for your ongoing engagement with the RACGP Standards.

International Society of Quality in Health Care 2022 Conference

It was a great pleasure to be a part of the 38th International Society of Quality in Health Care (ISQua) Conference in Brisbane last month.

ISQua is a leading international organisation dedicated to improving the quality and safety of healthcare through a global community of members and partners. Dr Louise Acland, Chair of the RACGP Expert Committee – Standards for General Practices (REC-SGP) presented on the recent changes to collection and recording of patient sex and gender in the Standards for general practices. This was also an opportunity to discuss the Standards – a foundational benchmark for quality and safety in Australian general practice – with an international audience.

The Standards team also exhibited at the conference, giving us an exciting avenue to promote the Standards and the RACGP more broadly, as well as our ongoing commitment to improving and promoting quality and safety in Australian general practices. With interest in everything from the RACGP Standards and clinical guidelines, work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, and general practice training, it was great to have so many curious and engaged delegates from across the world connecting with us.

Standards for general practices (5th edition) web update

The Standards for general practices (the Standards) are now available as a web-based resource. We’ve made this change to improve the user experience when accessing the Standards and ensure that we can make timely updates when needed.

We welcome any feedback you have on the format of the Standards and how we could improve the user experience, especially as we move towards the next edition.

The Standards can still be downloaded as a PDF using the link provided.

Standards for health services in Australian immigration detention facilities (2nd edition)

We’ve now published the Standards for health services in Australian immigration detention facilities (IDF Standards) (2nd edition) on our website. The IDF Standards support the delivery of safe, quality care in immigration detention facility health services.

Members of the working group that developed the IDF Standards recently spoke with newsGP about the implementation of profession-led standards of safe, quality care in immigration detention facilities and the changes to the IDF Standards since the first edition.

The new edition aligns with the Standards for general practices (5th edition) to ensure health services deliver primary care that’s comparable to services in the community. The new edition also reflects the needs of patient populations in detention by including aspects such as cultural and linguistic diversity, post-traumatic stress, and other complex physical and mental health issues.

We piloted the IDF Standards in immigration detention facility health services earlier this year to test their feasibility, acceptability, achievability and applicability.

In supporting the development of the IDF Standards, the RACGP is not condoning or supporting the use of immigration detention. We acknowledge that within the constraints of the current legislative framework, a quality and safety standard is necessary to optimise delivery of healthcare to those detained in immigration detention facilities.

We consider the IDF Standards applicable to all restrictive immigration detention facilities where a health service provider is contractually responsible to provide healthcare, and where, as a consequence of their detention, individuals aren’t able to choose to access other external primary care and/or mental health services.

You can read our position statement on the application of the IDF Standards on the RACGP website.

Standards for general practice residential aged care (Standards for GPRAC)

We recently concluded our pilot of the Standards for general practice residential aged care across several residential aged care facilities and concluded our consultation on the draft.

The RACGP Working Group – RACGP Expert Committee – Standards for General Practices has since met and is currently working through the pilot and consultation feedback.

Point-of-care testing for general practices

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) has recently clarified the requirements for general practices to be accredited to the RACGP Standards for point-of-care testing (5th edition) (PoCT Standards). The ACSQHC has expanded the standards under the National General Practice Accreditation (NGPA) Scheme to include the PoCT Standards.

For general practices seeking accreditation to the PoCT Standards outside their practice’s accreditation assessment, in agreement with their accrediting agency an on-site or hybrid assessment (one assessor on site, one assessor off site participating virtually) can occur. All hybrid assessments must be approved by the ACSQHC before the assessment takes place.

Arrangements for hybrid assessments to the PoCT Standards will remain in place until 1 November 2023.

Accreditation of a general practice to the RACGP Standards for general practices (5th edition) is a pre-requisite for the PoCT Standards. Approved accrediting agencies may assess general practices to the PoCT Standards under the NGPA Scheme.

You can find more information on the ACSQHC website.

Infection prevention and control guidelines

The revised Infection prevention and control guidelines for general practices and other office-based and community-based practices (IPC Guidelines), which we have developed in collaboration with the Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA), will be published on the RACGP website later this month.

We’ll publish the updated edition as guidelines and align to current evidence for infection prevention and control, including the lessons learned throughout the COVID-19 pandemic response over the last two years. The IPC Guidelines are based on the National Health and Medical Research Council Australian guidelines for the prevention and control of infection in healthcare and are tailored to give general practices and other office-based healthcare practices updated guidance on planning and implementing high standards of infection prevention and control in their workplaces.

The IPC Guidelines will be published as a web-based resource, and we’ll communicate their release across the RACGP’s channels. 

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