*An extenuating circumstance is defined as:
- An extensive and critical occurrence outside a general practice’s control which results in prolonged loss, damage or absences of access to facilities, records, critical equipment, utilities and/or technology. This may be due to but not limited to, severe weather, natural disaster, fire, accident, or emergencies such as a pandemic
- Recent personal hardship or tragedy experienced by key practice personnel which has or is likely to significantly impact the operation for the general practice over an extended period of time. This includes but is not limited to severe illness or death of practice principals or manager.
The Commission will not consider a request for extension to the accreditation expiry date under the following circumstances:
- A general practice has not allowed sufficient time to finalise administration of accreditation decisions despite the accrediting agency’s guidance. For example:
- Delaying response to communication sent by the accrediting agency
- Postponing contracted obligations to the accrediting agency such as finalising payment, submitting documents, and agreeing to assessment dates
- Delaying completion of remedial actions
- A general practice has transferred to an alternative accrediting agency. It is a requirement that the receiving accrediting agency* accepting the practice as a client maintain the general practice’s existing accreditation cycle and schedule of assessment (refer to Advisory GP18/02)
- A general practice had a prolonged gap in hiring key personnel.
*A receiving accrediting agency is an accrediting agency that a general practice applies to for future accreditation services.
After the request has been submitted
Following the submission of a request, the Commission will review all the evidence submitted, collect further evidence from the general practice’s accrediting agency if required, and may seek advice from other relevant parties such as the General Practice Accreditation Coordinating Committee, prior to determining the outcome of the request.
Requests can take 10 to 20 business days to be processed, dependent on the type of request submitted, evidence provided, and the need to seek further information.
Outcome of request
Should the Commission approve an extension to a general practice’s accreditation expiry date, the Commission will assign a revised accreditation expiry date and notify the relevant general practice, the accrediting agency, and Services Australia.
If the general practice is not satisfied with the outcome, it may seek an appeal via the general practice application form. Once the Commission has issued a determination of the appeal, there is no further avenue of appeal.
For accrediting agencies
Accrediting agencies must advise the Commission of any issues that relate to their obligations as an approved accrediting agency to complete assessments of general practices as outlined in Clause 3 of the Policy – Approval under the National General Practice Accreditation (NGPA) Scheme to conduct accreditation of general practices using the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) Standards for general practices.
The Commission does not consider delays that result from the operational issues of the accrediting agency as a sufficient reason to grant an extension to a general practice’s accreditation.
An accrediting agency must not backdate or change the date of commencement of a new accreditation cycle.