The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) believes there is an opportunity for GPs to be part of the NDIS process. The organisation recently provided a submission in response to the NDIS Review recommending that GPs have input into the planning process at an independent participant level and be able to communicate with NDIS planners.

“GPs play a central role in the coordination of care, liaising with non-GP specialists and allied health professionals as part of multidisciplinary teams, and directing patients to relevant services and supports in the community,” RACGP president Dr Nicole Higgins said. “They often have in-depth knowledge of supports that have been unhelpful for their patient in the past or where current contraindications exist.”

The RACGP recommendations include a more user-friendly NDIS Access Request Form. “The form is wordy, repetitive and prescriptive in terms of what answers GPs can give,” Higgins said. A less prescriptive form that allows GPs to articulate the impact of the patient’s functional impairment is recommended, also that the form be accessible and able to integrate with general practice clinical information systems.

The RACGP recently launched an inclusive definition of general practice to improve equity and access. The previous definition, which has been in place since 2013, had limited the accreditation of innovative general practice models which catered to specific cohorts such as aged care and patients with disability, or operating without traditional physical premises.

RACGP vice president Associate Professor Michael Clements said while there are general practices that offer an appropriate scope of practice these have not been eligible for accreditation, such as outreach services for patients with a disability, or practices serving a specific patient cohort like those in aged care facilities.

“The college has launched this definition to help to achieve equity for those and similar practices,” he said.

The updated definition and information on requirements for accreditation are available on the RACGP’s website, with an interpretative guide for accreditation agencies and surveyors also available.