The Primary and Community Healthcare Standards

The Primary and Community Healthcare Standards

As Australia’s most comprehensive not-for-profit accreditation, certification and verification organisation, with expertise across the entire health, community and human services continuum, here at QIP, we understand the importance of supporting organisations to deliver services that focus on patient safety, care and quality improvements.

The National Safety and Quality Primary and Community Healthcare Standards (Primary and Community Healthcare Standards or PHCS) have been developed to provide just that; a nationally consistent approach to safety and quality improvements across the primary and community healthcare sector.

Developed by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission), the Primary and Community Healthcare Standards aim to improve health care delivery and protect the public from harm.

The Standards were officially launched on 12 October 2021, allowing health services to start implementing them at their own pace. Accreditation is expected to become available in mid-2022 however provisional accreditation will be available to select health services prior to this commencement.

Along with other accrediting agencies, QIP is currently preparing our application for the Commission to become an approved accrediting agency under the new Primary and Community Healthcare Standards.

In addition to our experience in the community and human services sectors, QIP is part of the AGPAL Group of Companies which includes, Australian General Practice Accreditation Limited (AGPAL). AGPAL is Australia’s leading provider of general practice accreditation, offering a comprehensive insight into the complexities of the primary care sector. We hope to utilise this experience to become an approved accreditation provider against the NSQPCH Standards.

Primary and Community Healthcare Standards Accreditation

The Commission has stated that accreditation against the Primary and Community Healthcare Standards is likely to commence in mid-2022 for those services that deliver health care in a primary and/or community setting. Prior to the launch of the Primary and Community Care Standards Accreditation Scheme, the Commission has released an Advisory (AS21/04) stating that eligible services will be able to undertake provisional accreditation prior to accreditation against the PCHS. This provisional accreditation will involve an assessment against 87 actions within the NSQHS Standards (second edition) followed by 6 actions from the Primary and Community Healthcare Standards.

The Commission has developed the PCHS by undertaking a robust consultation and development process to ensure they are person-centred and describe the processes and structures needed to deliver safe and high-quality health care. The Commission has collated feedback from consumers, patients, health and community care services, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander professionals and peak bodies, Primary Health Networks (PHNs), and industry representatives.

The Primary and Community Healthcare Standards allow primary and community healthcare services to voluntarily take action to achieve a nationally consistent framework to protect the public from harm. The aim of the PCHS, when implemented, is to allow patients to be confident that their healthcare service is committed to delivering and continuously improving the safety and quality of services. Although voluntary, regulators or funders of a healthcare service may mandate the need for accreditation.

The Primary Care Standards are currently in their first edition (download PDF) and have been broken down into three overarching Standards:

  • Clinical Governance Standard
    • The Clinical Governance Standard looks at the relationships and responsibilities set by a healthcare or community service provider to ensure good clinical outcomes. The aim of the Clinical Governance Standard is to ensure that the accredited service can be confident in their systems to deliver safe and high-quality care while continuously improving their services.
  •  Partnering with Consumers Standard
    • The Partnering with Consumers Standard describes the systems and strategies imparted by an organisation in which their consumers are:
      • Included in shared decision-making
      • Partners in their own health care, and
      • Involved in the development and design of quality healthcare services.
  • Clinical Safety Standard
    • The Clinical Safety Standard is in place to consider specific high-risk areas of health care commonly encountered that need to be addressed and mitigated.

The Primary Community Health Standards have been aligned to other health service NSQHS Standards to improve the quality of care for Australian consumers.

If your health service is interested in further information regarding the Primary and Community Healthcare Standards, complete our EOI form below.

Primary and Community Healthcare Standards eligibility

The NSQPCH Standards are voluntary and only apply to primary healthcare and community services that are involved in the direct care of their patients and consumers.

Organisations currently accredited with QIP or any other accrediting body against any standards are not eligible for provisional accreditation. Organisations currently accredited will have to wait until the NSQPCH Standards accreditation program is available in mid-2022.

How the NSQPCH Standards apply to an organisation varies depending on the organisation's size and the risks and complexities of the services delivered.

The intricacies of the program eligibility and application methods are yet to be confirmed by the Commission. As the rollout of the Primary and Community Care Standards progress, the Commission will release information and resources to support healthcare and community providers with the implementation of this national set of standards. Our team will do our best to share these updates as they become available.

Expression of Interest