What the RACGP Guideline Changes to General Practice Mean For GPs

stethoscope sitting over the RACGP Guidelines for General Practice
If you’ve recently begun practicing as a GP in Australia, you will probably have come across the RACGP Guidelines or RACGP Standards. These are a large published work available to doctors, guiding them in their practice in areas such as quality care and risk management, with an aim to deliver better health outcomes for patients and protect GPs and doctors.

The current edition is the fourth edition and is available to purchase; it is handy to have at least one in your practice to refer to in your daily work life. In addition to this, a practice can apply to become registered against the standards.

You can be registered against the standards by meeting three essential criteria a practice can be accredited, which reassures patients and their families that your workplace is committed to excellence

(Accreditation can take 12-18 months to prepare for and can be undertaken through an independent accreditation agency.) Of course, you may elect not to become accredited, however it’s still best practice to assess your workplace against the RACGP standards to ensure you meet them to the best of your ability.

The RACGP guidelines are regularly updated to reflect best practice and other industry changes. There have been some changes in the RACGP guidelines between the third and fourth editions. These can be found online, however a brief summary is outlined below of some of the changes.

  • One of the main changes is that any references to legislation have been removed; this is because federal, state and local legislation overrides any RACGP standards that are non-legislative. Legislation is mentioned in rare cases, but only when it is essential to a defined feature of general practice.
  • Other changes mainly deal with the addition of extra clauses, such as “proposed costs” being included as what a practice will give information on when discussing possible treatment options/referrals/investigations with a patient.
  • Other changes reduce the size of some criterion, while yet others are entirely new: the need for effective clinical handover to ensure safe and continual heath care delivery, and the need for clinical governance to establish designated areas of authority is another.
  • Criterion 3.1.2 simply pluralises a word (“clinical management risk system” changed to “clinical management risk systems”).

While some changes completely alter the way a practice operates, some don’t really have an impact at all. It is important, though, to become familiar with the new RACGP guidelines in order to ensure your workplace is operating as per best practice. If you are a doctor interested in owning your own practice, we have some GP practice for sale in Australia.