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Infection prevention and control guidelines for general practices and other office-based and community-based practices (IPC Guidelines)

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) launched the IPC Guidelines on 23 November 2022.

The IPC Guidelines were developed by the RACGP Technical Working Group – Infection Prevention and Control Guidelines (RTWG-IPCG), which comprised RACGP and APNA technical experts. Funding for their development was provided by the Department of Health and Aged Care.

The IPC Guidelines provide practices with updated guidance on planning and implementing high standards of infection prevention and control in their workplaces by addressing:

The basics of infection prevention and control (including principles, hand hygiene, personal protective equipment, aseptic technique, levels of precaution)

  • Managing risks to staff (including staff screening immunisation and infection management, sharps, exposure to blood and other body substances)
  • Managing the practice environment (including cleaning, laundry and waste management)
  • Managing equipment (including reprocessing reusable medical devices)
  • Managing outbreaks (including disease surveillance and outbreak response)
  • Practice setup (including practice design, fit-out, equipment and consumables).

These IPC Guidelines have replaced the RACGP Infection prevention and control standards for general practices and other office-based and community-based practices.

Following release of the IPC Guidelines, AGPAL wrote to the RACGP seeking clarification regarding the key updates within the IPC Guidelines (in comparison to the previous infection prevention and control standards document).

The RACGP has advised that “It is important to acknowledge that the IPC Guidelines are intended as a guide to assist health professionals in office-based practices in the implementation of infection prevention and control procedures. This means that general practices are not accredited against the IPC Guidelines but may refer to them in meeting relevant criteria in the Standards for general practices (5th edition) (the Standards). The resource’s name change from ‘standards’ to ‘guidelines’ reflects its intended use.

Accredited general practices will have a transition period of 12 months to ensure they meet these updated requirements. This arrangement is consistent with the implementation of all changes to the Standards and their requirements.”

On Tuesday 14 March 2023, the RACGP will be hosting a webinar on the IPC Guidelines, exploring what’s new and significant in the guidelines. You can register for this event here.