When running a practice, it is
vital that you are aware of a range of national accreditation and regulation
standards that exist for both health professionals and the practice.
According to the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards, accreditation is
the public recognition by a healthcare accreditation body, demonstrated through
an independent external peer assessment, of an organisation’s performance in
relation to set standards.
There are various levels of accreditation
and regulation, which are provided at a national registration, speciality
specific and practice level.
Health Practitioner Regulation Agency is the body that supports the Medical
Board of Australia. The Medical Board of Australia is responsible for
protecting the public by regulating the profession of medicine through the
setting of standards and policies that all medical practitioners must
All medical practitioners, nurses and allied health professionals
must be registered with AHPRA in order to be able to practice in their
discipline in Australia. You can check on the AHPRA website if a particular
person is registered and if they have any restrictions in place.
accreditation is independent recognition that your practice is committed to
delivering safe and high quality healthcare to your patients by complying
with the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP)
standards for general practice
To register for accreditation,
your practice must meet the RACGP’s definition of general practice:
General practice provides patient centred, continuing, comprehensive and
coordinated primary care to individuals, families and
To maintain currency in accreditation, practices must
undergo accreditation every three years. The accreditation process promotes
continuous quality improvement and practice accreditation is conducted by two
accrediting bodies: AGPAL
and GPA Accreditation
Once a practice has achieved accreditation they are eligible
to apply to be part of the government’s practice incentive program, the Practice Incentives Program (PIP). The Practice Incentives
Program (PIP) is aimed at supporting general practice activities that encourage
continuing improvements, quality care, enhance capacity, and improve access
and health outcomes for patients. Support is financial.
As the practice
manager, you must ensure that your practice’s accreditation is up to date at
all times. Practices registered for accreditation are required to achieve
full accreditation within 12 months of joining the program. If a practice is
unable to achieve full accreditation before the expiry of the registration
certificate, a request can be made with the relevant accreditation body
seeking an extension. Practices must ensure registration for accreditation
covers the entire period until full accreditation is achieved to avoid PIP
payments being withheld.
Whilst not mandatory to be registered, the AAPM
provides practice managers with a Certified Practice Manager (CPM) program that promotes and
recognises standards for the profession. AAPM members can also achieve the
AAPM Fellowship, which is the highest level of certification in the
medical colleges are responsible for the training of medical specialists and
maintaining standards across each specialty. The Medical Council of New South
Wales takes a role in ensuring that medical practitioners in NSW are fit to
practise medicine through ensuring that registered doctors adhere to
standards of conduct and competence.
Some medical colleges and other
healthcare professionals have also introduced practice accreditation e.g.
diagnostic imagery, physiotherapy and dental practice. It is expected that
practice accreditation for other specialties will increase in coming years as
the demand for improvement in safety and quality in healthcare grows.
such as the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards, AGPAL and GPA provide
accreditation of practices. Whilst not an accrediting body, the Australian
Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care provides leadership and
coordination of improvement in safety and quality in healthcare across
When setting up a practice, it is important to be familiar
with the requirements for accreditation for the particular services that you
wish to provide.
- Improve your practice
- Town planning
- Practitioner density
- Back-up services in the area