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In Practice newsletter

19 February 2016

Have your say: Standards for general practices (5th edition)


The draft RACGP Standards for general practices (5th edition) was launched on Monday 15 February and all stakeholders are encouraged to provide feedback.

The draft Standards are available for download on the RACGP website.

Email or phone the Standards team on (03) 9998 8630 for more information.

RACGP Council meeting update

The 58th RACGP Council gathered in Melbourne last week for the first full Council meeting of 2016. 

The Council deliberated on a multitude of issues, including the RACGP’s future governance model and the ongoing community awareness campaign, The Good GP.

Connection with Primary Health Networks (PHNs) continues to be an area of focus, with Faculty Board chairs and members leading in the strengthening of relationships with their local PHNs.

As outlined in the RACGP position statement on PHNs, the RACGP believes there is opportunity for PHNs to add value where they support the primary healthcare sector to provide quality primary healthcare services to the community, including coordination, integration, and relationship building.

The RACGP Council also finalised the next series of recommendations to Choosing Wisely Australia, to be released in March. Choosing Wisely is a global initiative focused on identifying medical tests, treatments and procedures that are proven to be of low value or carry an unnecessary risk; the RACGP is a first wave member of this important initiative.

Last week’s Council meeting also endorsed several new RACGP policies, including the Code of Conduct and the Social Media Policy.

The RACGP remains committed to sharing the details of the work it is performing on behalf of members and patients; active member engagement is uppermost in all Council deliberations.

Zika virus update

The Department of Health has updated its Zika Virus information to include interim guidelines for management of pregnant women with Zika virus exposure and recommendations to reduce the risk of sexual transmission of Zika virus.

These guidelines and recommendations have been developed by the Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA), and are endorsed by the CDNA and the Australian Health Protection Committee. All GPs are encouraged to familiarise themselves with this latest information.

GP resources for responding to inappropriate diagnostic test requests

GPs occasionally receive requests from patients to order specific medical imaging or pathology tests that may or may not be appropriate in the management of the patient. These test requests can arise from a variety of sources and GPs may experience pressure to comply with them in order to preserve good relations with their patients.

There are various risks associated with ordering tests that are unlikely to be of clinical benefit.

To help GPs respond to inappropriate diagnostic test requests, the RACGP Expert Committee – Quality Care (REC-QC) has developed a set of resources outlining the RACGP position, a patient information sheet to inform discussion between GPs and patients, and a template letter to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practitioners.

RACGP faculty name changes

The RACGP state and national faculties have recently been renamed as part of an RACGP-wide corporate redesign strategy.

The faculties are now known as:

  • RACGP Rural
  • RACGP Specific Interests
  • RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health
  • RACGP Queensland
  • RACGP Tasmania
  • RACGP Victoria

There are no changes to the way the faculties operate. State and national branches of the RACGP remain bound by the RACGP Constitution and will continue to operate as normal.

RACGP Clinical Pearl – privacy policy requirements

In March 2014 the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) introduced new requirements for privacy to ensure open and transparent management of personal information. As part of the new requirements of the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs), general practices have an obligation to have an up-to-date privacy policy that can be easily accessed by patients.

To address this, the RACGP collaborated with the OAIC and upon their recommendation, reviewed and revised the RACGP Privacy policy template for general practices. Released in December 2015, the new templates can be modified to describe the procedures in your practice whilst ensuring your practice adheres to all the requirements of the APPs.  The new templates can be downloaded from the RACGP website.

In Practice poll – ePIP eligibility criteria

The ePIP eligibility criteria has been revised. In addition to the existing criteria, from 1 May 2016, a general practice will be required to upload shared health summaries (SHS) to the My Health Record system (formerly the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR)) for 0.5% of the practice’s standardised whole patient equivalent (SWPE) to be eligible for ongoing ePIP payments.

The revised ePIP requirement equates to about five shared health summaries per full-time equivalent GP per quarter (i.e. for a practice with five full-time equivalent GPs, it would equate to 25 uploads per quarter). A practice can receive a maximum payment of $12,500 per quarter.

The RACGP does not support this change. Instead of SHS upload targets, the RACGP advocated for incentives that support data accuracy and quality, and the appropriate and timely sharing of data across the healthcare sector.

To inform the RACGP’s work in the area, you are invited to participate in a poll to let us know if your practice will upload shared health summaries to maintain ePIP eligibility.

Will you upload Shared Health Summaries to the My Health Record System to ensure your general practice continues to receive the ePIP?

Show Votes


Read more RACGP national news.



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