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Medical Health Aged Care

RACGP launches new, more inclusive definition of general practice to improve equity and access

Royal Australian College of GPs 3 mins read

The Royal Australian College of GPs (RACGP) has launched a new definition of a general practice for the purpose of accreditation (the definition), with the aim to inclusively accredit innovative models of general practice care.

The previous definition has been in place since 2013 and has limited the accreditation of innovative general practice models which cater to specific patient cohorts such as aged care and disabled patients or operating without traditional physical premises.

The new definition does however retain the requirement a practice be comprehensive, continuous, and GP-led. Practices with limited scope do not meet the new definition, such as those focusing on one body system or disease or telehealth services that cannot offer in-person consultations.

The updated definition and information on requirements for accreditation are available on the RACGP’s website, with an interpretative guide for accreditation agencies and surveyors also available.

The new definition does not impact practices that are currently accredited. Members and other stakeholders are encouraged to provide feedback on how the interpretive guide for implementation of the Standards’ requirements is working in your practice. 

RACGP Vice President Associate Professor Michael Clements said the change aims to address the needs of specific patient demographics enabling the GP and practice team to ‘unlock’ the benefits of accreditation and participation in MyMedicare.

“There are genuine general practices that offer an appropriate scope of practice that have unfortunately not been eligible for accreditation, such as outreach services for patients with a disability, or practices serving a specific patient cohort like those in aged care facilities,” he said.

“The College has launched this definition to help to achieve equity for those and similar practices. The update aims to address these issues by broadening the definition, improving inclusivity, and ensuring equitable access to accreditation and associated programs. This will ultimately improve healthcare quality and access for all patients.

“New and innovative services offering comprehensive, patient-centred, and continuous care should be encouraged and helped to meet those needs. This will improve access to high quality general practice care for many of the more at-risk members of our community.

“For these practices, accreditation will also give access to more funding though MyMedicare and other Commonwealth-funded incentives. This will also make these practice more financially viable and ultimately improve healthcare access and quality for all patients.

“The purpose of this change is to improve general practice access for patients and practice viability, while maintaining the Standards for general practices, so we’re also committed to a transparent process as the definition is implemented. We encourage members and other stakeholders to provide feedback and collaborate with us as we implement the new definition.”

~ENDS

Feedback can be provided via: standards@racgp.org.au. The updated definition is below. For full context, visit the RACGP’s website on standards for accreditation.

 

Background: The definition of a general practice for the purpose of accreditation

In order for a practice or health service to seek accreditation:

  • it must provide comprehensive, patient-centred, whole-person and continuous care; and
  • its services must be predominantly* of a general practice nature.

* more than 50% of the practice’s general practitioners’ clinical time (ie collectively), and more than 50% of services for which Medicare benefits are claimed or could be claimed (from that practice) are in general practice.

The definition exists solely to identify services eligible to be assessed as a general practice against the RACGP Standards for general practices (the Standards) by an accreditation agency approved under the Australian Commission on Quality and Safety in Healthcare’s National General Practice Accreditation Scheme. This definition is for the assessment of the environment and systems of quality and safety. In expanding the definition of a general practice for the purposes of accreditation there will be some services that are eligible to be accredited against the Standards but that may not be appropriate as training practice locations or eligible for entry into a training program.

The general practice, once acknowledged as meeting the definition, must still meet all mandatory indicators in the Standards to be accredited.


About us:

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is the peak representative organisation for general practice, the backbone of Australia’s health system. We set the standards for general practice, facilitate lifelong learning for GPs, connect the general practice community, and advocate for better health and wellbeing for all Australians.

Visit www.racgp.org.au. To unsubscribe from RACGP media releases, click here.


Contact details:

John Ronan
Media Adviser

Ally Francis
Media Adviser

Stuart Winthrope
Media Officer

Contact: 03 8699 0992media@racgp.org.au

Follow us on Twitter: @RACGP and Facebook.

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