After hours services and medical deputising services are in place to support the delivery of care to Australian consumers outside of normal opening hours.
To ensure delivery of safe and quality focused care during this time period, after hours services and medical deputising services are encouraged to undergo accreditation against the RACGP Standards for after hours and medical deputising services 5th edition.
Services wishing to participate in the Approved Medical Deputising Service (AMDS) Program, administered by the Department of Health, must achieve accreditation in line with specified administrative guidelines.
Understanding the unique structure of after hours services and medical deputising services, AGPAL is committed to supporting these services throughout the accreditation and quality improvement process.
Should my service be accredited as an after hours or medical deputising service?
For a health service to be accredited against the RACGP Standards for after hours and medical deputising services, rather than the RACGP Standards for general practices, the RACGP has specified that a service must:
- Accept appointments and provide patient care only within and for the entire after hours period as defined by Medicare, OR
- Be a medical deputising service that operates 24 hours a day and provides after hours services only within and for the whole after hours period as defined by Medicare, AND
- Provide after hours services that are predominantly single episodes of care that are non-continuing, non-routine and predominantly of a general practice nature, AND
- Meet all of the mandatory Indicators in the Core, Quality improvement and After hours and medical deputising services modules (except where specifically exempted).
Types of after hours and medical deputising services
The table below describes types of services the RACGP considers to be after hours or medical deputising service which is broadly defined as a service provided by another entity when the patient’s regular GP is not available.
|Type of service||Type of operations||Modules applicable for accreditation*|
|After hours service with a physical facility||Operates only in the after-hours period
Also offers home and other visits
|After hours service that has a physical facility used only to:
||Offers only home and other visits||
Some Indicators will not be applicable, as identified in the Criterion
|Medical deputising service||Provides general practice services for and on behalf of a patient’s regular practice
Operates out of hours, including the unsociable hours
Can operate in normal hours
|Other models such as:
||Clinics that provide after-hours primary healthcare and are located within a public facility, or a public hospital near or adjacent to its emergency department||
*If the service meets the RACGP’s definition of after hours service or medical deputising service.
Got questions? We’ve got answers!
AGPAL – supporting you through accreditation
Dedicated, personalised support
AGPAL’s friendly, professional and supportive Client Liaison Team is committed to providing personalised assistance specific to your accreditation needs.
Having undertaken 5th edition training, and with their extensive client experience, your AGPAL Client Liaison Officer will endeavour to personally answer your specific standards questions. If extra assistance is required, they will point you in the right direction.
Your AGPAL accreditation hub houses a unique, in-built messaging system that enables you to message your Client Liaison Officer as you work through your self-assessment in AccreditationPro.
Contact your AGPAL Client Liaison Officer as often or as little as you need, at no additional cost – it’s all part of the service.
AGPAL’s accreditation hub
Tailored to your practice’s individual accreditation timelines and framework requirements, your AGPAL accreditation hub has specifically been developed to meet your accreditation needs.
Best of all, it’s all part of your exclusive AGPAL clients benefits which means there are no hidden fees and no additional user costs!
Online self-assessment with AccreditationPro
AGPAL’s online self-assessment software, known as AccreditationPro, streamlines accreditation preparation by helping clients determine their practice’s compliance with the RACGP Standards.
AccreditationPro helps decrease the administrative burden of the self-assessment process and streamlines accreditation preparation.
AccreditationPro allows you to undertake a team-based approach to quality to determine compliance, create and delegate action items, upload evidence and view helpful graphs to track your progress against the applicable RACGP Standards.
Resources and education at your fingertips
To ensure you and your practice team can continue on your quality improvement journey, the AGPAL Team has developed a comprehensive suite of tools and resources to assist you with 5th edition evidence requirements and best practice systems and processes across all areas of general practice.
Your education and resource library is housed within AGPAL’s accreditation hub and contains over 300 tools, resources and education offerings.
Resources include templates, posters, information sheets and an updated 5th edition Policy and Procedure Manual – for your customisation.
You’ll also discover a suite of e-Learning modules and webinars on a range of topics to support your team with accreditation preparation, quality improvement activities, knowledge enhancement and professional development opportunities. Read more about our Education and Training.
We are always developing new resources and take the time to keep our clients in the know.
Highly trained Surveyors
AGPAL Surveyors are highly trained and qualified peer assessors who work across the Australian health, community and human services sectors. AGPAL engages healthcare professionals with relevant experience and qualifications in general practice.
As professional peers, AGPAL Surveyors are not just there to assess the safety and quality of care provided by your practice – they are passionate about quality improvement and will share their knowledge and discuss quality improvement opportunities with your team as part of the on-site accreditation assessment process.
Everything you need
Whether your practice is registering for accreditation or re-accrediting, AGPAL equips you with a comprehensive range of information and support to ensure you succeed. Find out more about our Resources & Support here.
Our Helpful AGPAL Handbook and AGPAL Accreditation Hub Guide leads your practice through the AGPAL accreditation process with from top to tail. We provide posters and information to let your consumers know what accreditation means, and the effort your team has gone to for providing a safe and quality-focused practice.
Once your practice has achieved accreditation, we provide you with a range of marketing collateral to help you promote this outstanding achievement. You will receive everything from an A3 accreditation certificate, display stickers, flyers, posters, a customisable media release and digital files – AGPAL has you sorted!
Stay in the know!
AGPAL’s magazine, Quality News, available in hard and digital versions, offers in-depth standards interpretations, gives insight into how other practices and their teams complete accreditation and allows you to hear first-hand from AGPAL Surveyors.
Get timely updates of everything you need to know with our monthly AGPAL Assist e-newsletter. You’ll be provided with RACGP related information and updates, new e-Learning modules, Government and Medicare information and plenty more. AGPAL Assist is emailed to your preferred accreditation contact regularly and is also available for viewing at any time within AGPAL’s accreditation hub. See our latest news and updates here.
Join our online community
AGPAL’s social media networks are buzzing with everything that’s happening, as it happens. Celebrate practice achievements made within the sector and be kept up-to-date with the latest industry news and events, including AGPAL and QIP updates.
Search ‘AGPAL accredited’ across Facebook and LinkedIn to get information live.
AGPAL’s accreditation process
AGPAL offers a transparent approach to accreditation. Accreditation is a cyclic process of internally led self-assessment followed by an independent external assessment, aimed at facilitating quality service provision. Understanding the accreditation process enables a smooth accreditation experience for practice teams.
There are six steps in the AGPAL accreditation process:
By registering with AGPAL, practices gain unlimited access to accreditation support and resources to begin their quality improvement journey.
As part of this registration process, once initial invoice is paid, the self-assessment fee, the practice gains unique access to their online AGPAL accreditation hub, education and resource library, and self-assessment tool – AccreditationPro.
When the practice is due for re-accreditation, they will be automatically re-registered and a self-assessment fee invoice will be sent to the practice approximately 12 months prior to the current accreditation expiry date. This payment ensures access to AccreditationPro to commence the re-accreditation process is continued.
Self-assessment is an internally led process where practices determine the degree to which they meet the requirements of the RACGP Standards. AGPAL’s web-based self-assessment tool, AccreditationPro, guides general practices through the self-assessment process. This self-assessment process is a gap analysis assessment to identify compliance against the RACGP Standards and where improvements may need to be made prior to an on-site accreditation assessment.
Take a look at the 'Resources & Support' AGPAL provides to practices working through their self-assessment and accreditation journey.
To apply for accreditation, the practice submits its completed self-assessment to AGPAL.
Submission of self-assessment is a paperless and fully automated process through AccreditationPro. Submission indicates that your practice is ready for the on-site accreditation assessment. At this stage, part two of your invoice will be issued to the practice. Once AGPAL receives payment, planning of the on-site accreditation assessment commences.
On-site accreditation assessment
An on-site accreditation assessment is the process of determining if the practice has demonstrated compliance with the relevant RACGP Standards. The on-site accreditation assessment should occur at least three months prior to the practice’s registration/accreditation expiry date.
AGPAL appoints a suitably skilled assessment team to conduct the on-site accreditation assessment.
AGPAL Surveyors have completed a comprehensive training program, participate in continuing professional development, and adhere to a code of conduct aligned to national best practice principles in professional audit.
After the on-site accreditation assessment, the assessment team prepares a report for AGPAL outlining the assessment findings. A decision is made about the practice’s accreditation status by an independent AGPAL Accreditation Decision Maker.
If it is deemed that the practice is not yet compliant in areas of the RACGP Standards, the practice is given an opportunity to provide feedback. This period is called Natural Justice and is AGPAL’s way of ensuring decisions are fair and transparent for practices.
Any response or submission provided by the practice is considered in the accreditation decision-making process.
Continuous quality improvement
Once the practice achieves accreditation it’s time to celebrate!
This is when the practice continues to implement quality improvements throughout the three-year accreditation cycle.