UPDATE: Accreditation - Responding to circumstances arising from COVID-19 pandemic
Accreditation in general practice was established to promote a culture of quality and safety in Australian general practices. General practices are assessed for accreditation against the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) Standards for General Practices, which are considered the benchmark for high quality care.
Benefits of Accreditation
- Improve patient safety and overall health outcomes
- Reduce risk in practice
- Improve practice efficiency
- Build a culture of quality in the practice environment
- Develop staff skills and engaging the practice team in continuous quality improvement
- Access to financial incentives for general practice – Practice Incentives Program (PIP), Service Incentive Payments (SIP) and Practice Nurse Incentive Payments (PNIP).
General Practice Accreditation Organisations in Australia
There are currently three approved organisations that general practices are able to choose from to gain accreditation again the Standards:
- RACGP 5th Edition Standards
- Mapping of the 5th ed Indicators to 4th ed Indicators
- RACGP 5th Standards - Frequently asked questions
Practices are required to collect feedback, analyse, consider, respond to feedback and inform patients, carers and other relevant parties how they respond to feedback for quality improvement.
The 5th edition does not specify the methods practices must use to collect patient feedback. It is strongly encouraged that practices consider which methods best suit practices and their patients.
Practices may choose to use an RACGP-approved commercial tool, use or modify The RACGP Toolkit for developing practice specific questionnaires, or develop a practice specific feedback mechanism where the practice has sufficiently skilled staff. Please refers to RACGP Patient feedback requirements for the 5th ed requirements and options for collecting feedback.
Regardless of which method, versions or tools used, practices must meet the requirements set out in the RACGP Patient feedback guide for general practices -5th edition.
The RACGP Computer and Information Security Standards (CISS) and accompanying workbook will provide guidance on the essential information needed to put in place effective computer and information security. The workbook, when completed by practice staff, will form part of the general practice’s policies and procedures manual.
The following templates are provided by the RACGP to assit general practice to meet legal obligations for information security and the requirements necessary for accreditation against the 5th ed Standards:
- Computer and Information Security Workbook (MSword)
- RACGP Internet and email policy template
- RACGP Confidential agreement template
Privacy of Health Information
General practice has a fundamental role in ensuring the privacy of patient health information. The below signage can also be displayed to inform their patients about practice policy regarding management of their personal health information:
The RACGP Standards require practices to have contingency plans for unusual events such as natural disasters, disease outbreak or the unexpected absence of key members of the clinical team that may disrupt patient care.
The RACGP has developed the online Emergency Response Planning Tool (ERPT) to assist general practices to create their customised emergency response plan. The plan can be saved online and/or printed as a hard copy resource, by completing a series of planning templates online. The ERPT costs $330 inclusive of GST per year.
Alternatively, practices can create their own contingency plan manually. Please contact your Practice Support Officer (PSO) for further support.
It is essential that GPs and practice staff implement policies and procedures that maintain and enhance public health and safety by ensuring that the risk of the spread of infections diseases is prevented or minimised.
All practice staff, including GPs, must undertake training in Infection control based on the RACGP Infection prevention and control standards 5th Edition. Topics may cover:
- Importance of infection control
- How infection is spread
- Hand Hygiene
- Standard Precautions
- Transmission-based Precautions (contact, droplet and airborne precautions)
- Safe Management of Sharps
- Waste Management
- Management of Blood & Body fluid exposure
- Managing the Practice Physical Environment
- Spills kit contents
Please see the Online Learning section below for Infection Control training link.
Cold Chain Management
Practices should have a well managed Cold Chain Management system and procedures in place to ensure patients receive effective vaccinations and avoid legal implications.
- What is Cold Chain?
- Receiving vaccines
- Monitoring of vaccines and temperature recording
- Cold Chain breach
- Action in the event of a Cold Chain breach
- Managing a power failure
- How to pack your purpose built vaccine fridge
- Packing a vaccine esky
- Fridge maintenance
Please see the Online Learning section below for Cold Chain Management training link.
Height Adjustable Bed
Under the 5th edition of RACGP standards, practices will be required to have access to at least one height adjustable bed.
The rationale behind this measure is to ensure disabled patients have easy, safe and dignified access an examination bench and to ensure practitioners don't over exert themselves by treating patients on an examination bench that is too high.
For bed specifications please see the RACGP's Height Adjustable Bed Factsheet.
The list below is provided by South Western Sydney PHN in good faith and the PHN acts as a channel only in the advertising of available providers.
South Western Sydney PHN has no direct affiliation, invested interests or dealings with any of the business on this list and is not responsible or able to validate claims of work experience or quality of their work.
South Western Sydney PHN recommends you contact the individual or organisation for further information.
- Digital Health Security Awareness Online Course
- Cold Chain Management training
- Infection Prevention and Control Training - Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care
- Infection Prevention and Control Training - APNA
- Infection Control and Sterilisation Training - ADA NSW
- Hand Hygiene Australia
- NSW Nurses and Midwives' Association CPD
- Practice Nurse Central CPD
- AGPAL webinars
- QPA Webinars
- South Eastern Melbourne PHN Free Practice Coaching
SWSPHN Accreditation Resources
- Why become accredited
- Overview of Accreditation
- Accreditation timeline tool
- Accreditation Focus List
- QIPC and Accreditation
- SWS HealthPathways/Health Resource Directory and Accreditation
- SWS Ageing & Disability Service Information
- National guide to a preventive health assessment for ATSI people - 3rd edtion
- Interpretive guide to the RACGP Standards for Aboriginal community controlled health services
- RACGP Patient feedback guide for general practices - 5th edition
- Australian Open Disclosure Framework - Feb 2014
- RACGP Computer and Information Security Standards
- RACGP Information security in general practice
- Compliance indicators for the Australian Privacy Principles
- Implementing the Australian Open Disclosure Framework in small practices
- RACGP Guide for the use of email in general practice
- RACGP Guide for the use of social medial in general practice-V6
- AHPRA Social medial policy - 2014
- AHPRA-Guidelines for advertising regulated health services
- Managing Emergencies and Pandemics in General Practice
- RACGP Clinical Risk Management in General Practice
- Pandemic flu kit Implementation guide
- Managing pandemic influenza in General Practice - 2nd ed
- Pandemic influenza toolkit
- Strive For 5 - 3rd edition
Practice Support Services
South Western Sydney PHN Practice Support service provides support for practices undertaking accreditation for the first time, or for those undergoing re-accreditation. This support includes:
- Deciding on an accrediting body
- Enabling the practice to plan and implement policies and procedures
- Providing feedback regarding the readiness for accreditation
- Providing templates and resources
- Demonstrating available resources - AGPAL “Hub” and QPA Connect Plus websites.
To arrange a practice visit for accreditation support please contact your Practice Support Officer.