Practices in Focus

ATSICHS – first practices against the RACGP Standards 5th edition

Staff at ATSICHS’ clinics with their AGPAL Surveyors in December 2017

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service (ATSICHS) has 13 clinics across Brisbane, Queensland, who provide holistic health care to raise the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the wider Brisbane community.

Our AGPAL team is excited to announce that three of their clinics – ATSICHS Browns Plains, Logan Primary Health Care Clinic (ATSICHS) and Loganlea Medical Centre, were the first general practices in Australia to complete accreditation against the RACGP Standards for general practices 5th edition. Their on-site accreditation surveys took place in December 2017, and they were successfully awarded AGPAL accredited status in January 2018.

We would like to congratulate the ATSICHS team on this milestone achievement, and their commitment to accreditation and the quality improvement process. With tight timeframes, a large amount of team work and a comprehensive approach to planning and preparation, the ATSICHS team should be extremely proud of this accomplishment they have set amongst the sector.

Above and Feature Image: Staff at two ATSICHS’ clinics with their AGPAL Surveyors in December 2017


We spoke with Melita Parker, ATSICHS’ Quality and Compliance Manager, about their experience accrediting against the new 5th edition Standards.

“I had already made up my mind that we wanted to try to achieve accreditation against the 5th edition because if there were gaps from our current systems, we could learn from these. I had a group meeting with the three clinic managers who all showed drive and commitment and made it clear that they wanted to try for the 5th edition. We have a WH&S Consultant that works with ATSICHS who has built a brilliant system that fed well with the 5th edition and our Quality Management System also allows for continual improvement and monitoring.

We had a very tight, two month timeframe to complete the accreditation for the three clinics, so we carefully planned combing through the new Standards with a fine tooth comb, discussing the changes and how implementation of these changes would fit in with operations and culture. We worked as a group in a workshop format that increased knowledge, allowed decisions to move quicker. Input from other staff was increased as well, effectively meaning we had four people working on our accreditation at all times, which increased the speed of the process.

We conducted 17 workshops, some with manager’s alone, and then pulling in the staff, like a train – managers stationed at each carriage, stopping to bring the staff on board when the process required input and training around the changes to the 5th edition. Our regular clinic meetings had ‘accreditation’ on the agenda, which provided me some time at these meetings to enforce any areas and gather input from staff who were feeling overwhelmed or any other issues that were raised. In all of our processes we look outside of the box to see how we can continually improve which has allowed for a smoother transition to the 5th edition.

With continual improvement that begins with a single step and working together, we were able to make our goals is achievable. It was crucial that the process was planned well, we had no blockages in the pipeline and therefore were able to have the three sites surveyed on the same day. We found AGPAL provided support, guidance and that friendly voice when anxiety set in, and everyone was starting to feel a little overwhelmed. It allowed us to stop, breathe and think, taking the next step towards our goal, and that we were so thankful to AGPAL for.”

With many other practices already commencing and completing their 5th edition self-assessment in AccreditationPro, we look forward to congratulating many other teams as they gain their award of accreditation.

To learn more about ATSICHS, their practices, service offerings and positive community work visit