Push for greater reference to RACGP standards

Jolyon Attwooll

21/04/2023 2:04:13 PM

The college has requested that the ACSQHC add references to RACGP resources in a new guide aimed at implementing primary care standards.

Clinician writing on clipboard
The RACGP believes that greater use should be made of its Standards for general practices, which are recognised as ‘a benchmark across the health sector’.

National safety and quality care standards for primary care should include more reference to the RACGP’s own standards, a recent college submission has said.
It follows an invitation to provide feedback to the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) about a guide to National Safety and Quality Primary and Community Healthcare Standards (NSQPCHS).
The ACSQHC says it is developing the resource to help primary care healthcare services implement the standards, which were first launched in 2021.
The college submission references a meeting between the college and the ACSQHC in June 2021, and cites assurances that guidance would be added to clarify that NSQPCHS are not intended to replace existing profession-led standards.
It also said the college was assured the role of the RACGP’s Standards for general practices (5th edition) for accreditation requirements in Australia would be acknowledged.
‘However, despite agreement to do so at the meeting, the final version of the NSQPCHS does not include this clarification and the ACSQHC continues to release supporting material which includes general practice,’ the submission notes.
Dr Louise Acland, the Chair of the RACGP Expert Committee – Standards for general practices (REC–SGP), believes that greater use should be made of the college standards.
‘These guidelines have been developed by working groups of GPs and other subject matter experts,’ she told newsGP.  
‘They are very relevant, evidence-based resources that could be referenced by the Commission’s guidelines.’
The RACGP says the standards ‘are widely accepted by the profession and recognised as a benchmark across the health sector’, and have incorporated extensive feedback and considered consumer expectations.
‘They are subject to rigorous and continuous evaluation and independently accredited by the International Society for Quality and Safety in Health Care,’ the submission states.
‘This demonstrates and highlights the importance of having standards that are owned and supported by the profession within which they are to be applied.
‘The RACGP supports efforts to improve patient safety, avoid unnecessary duplication, and improve communication and collaboration between providers,’ the document reads.
‘However, we remain unclear as to how identical standards for all non-general practice primary healthcare settings will achieve these outcomes.’
The RACGP believes significant variation between practice models, clinical focus, patients and services make a single set of standards ‘difficult, if not impossible’ to put in place and suggests ‘significant revision’ to explanatory materials – despite the planned imminent publication of the NSQPCHS.
It also says some examples given by the guide are ‘prescriptive’ as well as ‘process driven’ and do not focus enough on patient outcomes.
‘This moves the NSQPCHS away from being patient-centred to being compliance driven,’ the college submission warns.
Further feedback was also provided, including a call to reduce jargon to simplify the language used.
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ACSQHC NSQPCHS practice standards RACGP Standards

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