10 things to do when setting up a new general practice

SEMPHN has put together 10 key things to do when setting up, or starting at a new general practice. If you’d like to suggest an addition or change to this information, please get in touch at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

1. Put patients at the centre of your practice

If empathy is the ability to truly ‘step into someone else’s shoes’, as in...

  • What is the person thinking?
  • What are they seeing?
  • What are they doing – either physical actions or the motivation behind them?
  • How are they feeling – what are their emotions at the moment?

...then what does empathy mean for general practice?

You might be just starting out in general practice and want to learn more, or you might be setting up a new practice and want to try different things. Even experienced doctors and practice staff find it hard to embed empathy into practice routines, so we've compiled some information around empathy in general practice that might help.

These links may also be useful:

2. Decide how you’ll be accredited and get support

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners publishes standards for maintaining an excellent general practice. They are designed to be a template for safe and high quality care in the increasingly complex environment of Australian general practice.

Accreditation by an independent body in line with the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners standards, demonstrates that you and your practice are dedicated to providing safe, effective and quality care for patients.

In Australia, there are two accreditation agencies to choose from: Australian General Practice Accreditation Limited (AGPAL) and GPA ACCREDITATION plus.

Australian General Practice Accreditation Limited

Tel: 1300 362 111
Fax: 1300 362 110
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: www.agpal.com.au


Tel: 1800 188 088
Fax: 03 8888 9988
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: www.gpa.net.au

For more information, see SEMPHN’s General Practice Accreditation Guide.

3. Join APNA and AAPM

Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA) is the peak professional body for nurses working in primary health care. Membership offers opportunities in professional development, events, advocacy and access to resources.

Australian Association of Practice Management (AAPM) is the peak professional body dedicated to supporting effective Practice Management. The AAPM promotes professional development and provides specialised services and networks to support quality Practice Management, including educational workshops, webinars and online learning.

4. Connect with SEMPHN

There are many ways to connect with SEMPHN. As a start, check out SEMPHN’s Resources, Events & Education and sign-up to SEMPHN’s newsletters.

You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

See our contact page for how to get in touch with us.

5. List your business on the National Health Service Directory

Primary Health Networks (PHNs) use and promote the National Health Services Directory as the preferred source for finding health professionals.

The National Health Services Directory is a joint initiative of all Australian governments, delivered by Healthdirect Australia, to enable health professionals and consumers to access reliable and consistent information about health services. The directory includes general practice, allied health, hospital and community services.

You can register for free and keep your general practice details up-to-date in real-time - including services offered, contact details and operating hours.

6. Procure and set up suitable IT systems

A good foundation is needed before more sophisticated digital health systems can be adopted. Capabilities to build this foundation are needed in six core areas: governance, planning and management, IT capacity, digital health capacity, online presence, and skills and culture.

ImproveIT is an online resource developed for general practices to self-assess their capabilities and tools to help them improve in areas they want to work in.

7. Understand billing

The MBS is a listing of the Medicare services subsidised by the Australian government. See MBS Online for the latest information and updates.

There is also a Medicare Billing Assurance Toolkit

The Central Queensland, Wide Bay and Sunshine Coast PHN has developed a frequently-used desktop guide to item numbers for General Practice Services

8. Get help with digital health

Our Digital Health team can help on and advise on a range of digital health areas, including: use of technology; clinical software; POLAR GP/data analysis, My Health Record; secure messaging; telehealth.

For more information visit our Digital Health page.

9. Employ staff

Need more staff in your practice? Consider listing your vacancy on the following sites:

10. Sign up for Practice Coaching

SEMPHN’s Practice Coaching website provides targeted e-learning for all general practice staff to help improve chronic disease management, health assessments, disease prevention and targeted early intervention activities.

The videos are free, short, can be accessed anytime and be completed in stages.

Practice Coaching can be used to manage individual’s training, enable staff to drive quality improvement and as evidence for Practice Accreditation.

To register for Practice Coaching visit www.practicecoaching.com.au.

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Contact Information

Need help?

For General Practice support, please call 1300 331 981 (option 2) or email providersupport@semphn.org.au

Looking for staff? A job?

Check-out our local primary health jobs page.

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