General Practice Accreditation

This guide is a resource for general practices who are undergoing accreditation.

You can also check out our series of short videos to support accreditation.


What is General Practice Accreditation?

Around 80 per cent of General Practices in Australia undergo accreditation. The process requires practices to be assessed against the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) Standards by an independent third party at least every three years, to gain an ‘accredited’ status.

Accreditation uses a peer review model where surveyors must be actively involved in General Practice (including in the areas of practice management) and where at least one of the visiting surveyors is a general practitioner.

The RACGP states that achieving accreditation shows patients that your practice is committed to providing high quality, safe and effective care as determined by the general practice profession.


Why become accredited?

There are many benefits to becoming an accredited General Practice.  Some of these include:

  • Recognition within the General Practice community that your clinic is performing in accordance to best practice standards
  • Proven framework for Quality Improvement and Quality Assurance in General Practice
  • See how the practice is performing in relation to General Practice benchmarks
  • The opportunity to reflect on what’s working well at a practice level and identify areas for improvement
  • Access funding from the Practice Incentives Program (PIP), Service Incentive Payments (SIP) and the Practice Nurse Incentive Program (PNIP).

To learn more about the PIP funding and initiatives visit the Department of Human Services’ PIP webpage and the DHS PNIP webpage.


The RACGP standards for General Practice

The Standards for General Practices (4th edition) were developed by the National Expert Committee on Standards for General Practices (NECSGP) in close consultation with general practice stakeholders – GPs, nurses, practice managers, patients and a range of external organisations.

Each standard is divided into a number of criteria and each criterion has a number of related indicators, which describe what practices need to do to meet the criterion.

Flagged indicators (those marked ►) are considered mandatory. Unflagged indicators are considered discretionary.

Each criterion includes an explanation of what is required to achieve the criterion.

Visit the RACGP website for resources and information relating to accreditation.

The 5th Edition Standards are due to be released in October 2017. Visit this page to review proposed changes: RACGP 5th Edition Standards Webinar and Development 


Accreditation organisations

As of 30 June 2017 the National General Practice Accreditation Standard Scheme comes into effect. Read about it here: safetyandquality.gov.au

Approved Accreditation Agencies

The following agencies are approved to assess general practices to the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners Standards for general practices

AGPAL Group of Companies. Incorporating Australian General Practice Accreditation Limited (AGPAL) and Quality Innovation Performance Limited (QIP)

Po Box 2058, Milton BC QLD 4064

Tel: 1300 362 111

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Website: agpal.com.au

Global Mark Pty Ltd

Suite 4.07, 32 Delhi Rd, North Ryde, NSW 2113

Tel: 1300 766 509 or 02 9886 0222

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Website: global-mark.com.au

Quality Practice Accreditation Pty Ltd

136 Mount St, Gundagai, NSW 2722

Tel: 1800 188 088

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Website: gpa.net.au

The Australian Council on Healthcare Standards

5 MacArthur St, Ultimo, NSW 2007

Tel: 02 9281 9955

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Website: achs.org.au

Tip: These organisations often allocate a support contact to practices undergoing accreditation with them. Make sure you contact your support contact so you can learn about additional resources, support services and information these organisations may offer.


Essential components of accreditation

Policy and Procedure Manual development and update

A Policy and Procedure Manual is a great resource to ensure practice processes are documented and their implementation is consistent across staff members.

A good manual is a valuable reference and training tool so it is important to ensure this is kept up to date.

There should be a formal review of the manual every three years, however it is a good idea to revisit key policies and procedures on a yearly basis and offer staff an opportunity to offer their input.

Both accrediting bodies (AGPAL and GPA) provide Policy and Procedure Manual templates, which a practice can customise to suit their needs.

Contact your accreditation provider (AGPLA or GPA) for more information.

Practice Staff records

There are several accreditation indicators that relate to comprehensive documentation of staff records.

The Staff Training Sheets Resource has been used by many clinics to help plan and organise information about staff members. The resource includes:

  • an induction checklist
  • a staff immunisation record proforma
  • many training sheets that can be used on an ongoing basis as part of in-house education for staff.

Templates and Practice forms

Numerous resources have been developed to support practices going through accreditation. We have included a list of the most common resources below.

Contact your accreditation provider (AGPAL or GPA) to learn about additional templates and proformas for your practice.

Patient Feedback

Practices can select from the following RACGP-approved validated questionnaire providers:

  • Insync’s Patient Satisfaction Instrument (PSI) Ph: 1800 143 733
  • CFEP Survey’s Patient Accreditation Improvement Survey (PAIS) Ph: (07) 3855 2093
  • Press Ganey Associates Ph: (07) 5560 7400

Self-assessment questionnaire and visit preparation

In order to assist practice to prepare for the accreditation survey visit, both accreditation bodies provide self-assessments, templates, resources checklists and even web-based training.

Contact your accreditation provider (AGPAL or GPA) to find out what support is available and what steps may be required prior to your survey visit.

On-site visit and accreditation audit

The onsite visit will usually take place every three years. The visit length will vary depending on the size of the clinic and how many doctors/staff will need to be interviewed.

During the visit, the clinic should remain open to the public so surveyors can witness usual practice operations.

For more information on what will be involved as part of your survey visit, contact your accreditation provider (AGPAL or GPA).


Top Accreditation Resources

The following are useful accreditation resources:


Privacy

Visit the Office of Australian Information Commissioner on the Australian Privacy Principles: oaic.gov.au


Health Complaints Commissioner

Visit the new Health Complaints Commisoner website: HCC.vic.gov.au

Health Complaints Commissioner

Level 26, 570 Bourke St, Melbourne, VIC  3000

Tel: 1300 582 113

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Accreditation visit checklist with staff allocation

As the RACGP Standards are comprehensive, it is unlikely that all components will be reviewed during the three-yearly accreditation visit.

However, the Accreditation Visit Checklist has areas that are considered essential and will always be checked as part of the accreditation visit.

You may use this checklist to review what procedures or documentation you may still need to compile to be ready for your survey visit. You can also allocate the responsibility for certain activities to different staff in your practice.


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