November 2023

Chair report

A message from the Chair – Dr Louise Acland

I‘d like to welcome Raelene Simpson as our new Program Manager for Standards at the RACGP. Raelene brings valuable experience and enthusiasm to the role and has commenced in full stride as development activities for the sixth edition Standards for general practices ramp up.

Raelene joins the RACGP after taking a break from general practice for 2 years and working for Breast Cancer Network Australia and The Pancare Foundation as Program Manager and Project Manager, respectively, managing Department of Health and Aged Care grants. Previously, Raelene worked for NPS MedicineWise leading the development of national quality use of medicines education and quality improvement activities for general practice. Please join me in welcoming Raelene to the Standards team.

As we approach the end of the year, I’d like to wish you all a safe and happy holiday period. I look forward to bringing you further updates on the sixth edition development in the new year and hearing your thoughts as we progress consultations and piloting of the draft Standards.

In this edition of Standards news:

Thank you for your ongoing engagement with the RACGP Standards.

Standards for general practices – web version

The Standards are now web-based (in html format), allowing us to efficiently make updates when needed, link accompanying resources to the appropriate criteria within the Standards, and maintain links to external resources.

Previous PDF downloads are considered out-of-date. Refer to our website for the current version. Any substantive changes to requirements in the Standards will be communicated separately.

As of November 2023, the previous static Standards PDF has been removed from our website. If you, your practice, or an organisation you work with uses any links directly to the PDF, please ensure these are updated to

Sixth edition update – watch this space

Our development of the next edition of the Standards is underway. We will be providing opportunities to review the draft sixth edition and give feedback to the RACGP throughout 2024, and the Standards team will provide regular updates via Standards news and other RACGP channels.

We will engage nationally with GPs and key stakeholders in the profession to ensure that the sixth edition Standards are acceptable to the profession and assessable by accreditation surveyors.

We encourage you to subscribe to Standards news via the link above and encourage your colleagues to do so to stay up to date on the sixth edition development.

Commencement of standardised repeat assessments

From 1 January 2024, the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) will standardise requirements for repeat assessments for general practices under the National General Practice Accreditation (NGPA) Scheme. Until this time, accrediting agencies have determined the need for repeat assessments and the criteria for determining this has not always been consistent.

General practices assessed under the NGPA Scheme that do not meet more than 20% of the mandatory indicators will fall under the new requirements published as an Advisory on the Commission’s website.

For more information about the NGPA Scheme, its policies and procedures, please visit the ACSQHC website.  

Notification of significant risk

The ACSQHC has published Advisory GP18/04: Notification of significant risk, which describes requirements for accrediting agencies to notify the ACSQHC of significant and ongoing risks of patient harm identified during the assessment of general practices.

The advisory outlines steps that are taken when a surveyor is on site and identifies one or more significant risks.

Maintaining register for S8 medicines

All Australian states and territories now require medical professionals who acquire, store, administer, supply, and dispose of Schedule 8 medicines on-site to maintain a Schedule 8 medicines register.

The Standards previously suggested that maintaining a Schedule 8 medicines register was optional (Criterion QI2.2 – Safe and quality use of medicines), a statement that has now been removed from the Standards.

As per indicator QI2.2►E of the Standards, your practice must acquire, store, administer, supply and dispose of medicines, samples and medical consumables according to manufacturers’ directions and relevant laws. Federal, state or territory, and local legislation overrides any non-legislative standards. Your practice is responsible for ensuring that you comply with relevant legislation.

Infection prevention and control guidelines

The RACGP, in partnership with the Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA), developed the Infection prevention and control guidelines (IPC Guidelines) in 2022. The IPC Guidelines are intended to help health professionals in office-based practices implement infection prevention and control procedures and are updated periodically with new evidence, resources, and case studies.

While wholesale changes were made when updating the IPC Standards to Guidelines, the updated IPC Guidelines do not implement new requirements that are not already in place via the Standards for general practices, Australian Standards and Australian/New Zealand Standards, national guidelines (including the Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare), or other national or jurisdictional legislation.

Practices aren’t accredited against the IPC Guidelines, but may refer to them in meeting relevant criteria in the Standards.

Regarding reprocessing requirements, the current Australian standard applicable to reprocessing reusable medical devices (AS/NZS 4815:2006 Office-based health care facilities—Reprocessing of reusable medical and surgical instruments and equipment, and maintenance of the associated environment) is under review and will be superseded by the new standard: AS 5369 Reprocessing of reusable medical devices and other devices in health and non-health related facilities.

Our IPC Guidelines will be updated after the new standard comes into effect to reflect changes relevant to general practice.

For more information, refer to our FAQ.

Update to patient feedback demographic questions

We recently updated the RACGP’s questionnaire in our Patient feedback guide so that its demographic question on gender aligns with national standards for the collection and recording of gender identity.

When asking about a patient’s gender identity, consider using the question: How do you describe your gender?

Provide patients with, at least, the option to select:

  • ‘man or male’
  • ‘woman or female’
  • ‘non-binary’
  • ‘(I/they) use a different term (please specify)’
  • an option to not answer (eg ‘prefer not to say’).

Practice specific questionnaires used for collecting patient feedback can be updated to include the question and options above. For more information on the collection and recording of patient gender, refer to our factsheet, Collecting and recording information about patient sex, gender, variations of sex characteristics and sexual orientation.

RACGP webinar – Unpacking the Medicare compliance process

The RACGP will be hosting a webinar on Monday 13 November at 7pm AEDT about the Medicare compliance process. The webinar is a joint presentation between the Department of Health and Aged Care (DoHAC) and the Professional Services Review (PSR). It will aim to alleviate some of the fear and misconceptions that exist around compliance.

Dr Sarah Mahoney, Senior Medical Adviser at DoHAC, will be presenting on the principles of how to claim Medicare items appropriately as well as how the Department’s compliance work relates to and differs from the work of the PSR.

Dr Antonio Di Dio, Acting Director of the PSR, will provide an overview of the PSR process for GPs. He will cover how the PSR determines if a practitioner has engaged in inappropriate practice.

Click here for more information and to register.

New gplearning course – Reducing your risk of Medicare non-compliance

The RACGP has developed a new CPD activity available through gplearning which is designed to improve your understanding of the MBS and reduce your risk of incorrect billing and non-compliance. 

It will ask you to respond to multiple choice questions and note down reflections and key learnings on how your currently bill, areas of concern, and your practice’s approach to Medicare compliance. The activity utilises resources developed by the RACGP, Department of Health and Aged Care and Services Australia to help you better understand the basic principles of the MBS, problem item numbers and compliance processes. 

Follow the steps below to access this course. If you have any questions, please email

  1. Log into the RACGP website using your member account. 
  2. Click on ‘My Account’ in the top right-hand corner. 
  3. Click on ‘gplearning 2023’. 
  4. Click on ‘Browse’ in the navigation bar at the top and search for ‘Reducing your risk of Medicare non-compliance’.

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