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Essential Guide to RACGP Doctor’s Bag Requirements for General Practices

22 January 2024 - Susan Helmrich

The RACGP’s Standards for General Practices (5th Edition) emphasise the need for preparedness in dealing with potential clinical emergencies. Among the key updates are:

  1. Immediate Access to Emergency Equipment: Practices must have immediate access to an ECG machine and an Automated External Defibrillator (AED).

  2. Training and Awareness: Basic life support training is mandated for all general practice staff, ensuring a competent response in emergencies.

  3. Emergency Communication: Practices should have a recorded message advising patients to call 000 in emergencies, facilitating prompt action.

Audit & Accessibility

Two crucial aspects of the standards criterion include:

  • Conducting regular audits of your Doctor’s bag to ensure all items are up to date and in working order. This is a great activity that can contribute to Measure Outcomes CPD

  • Ensuring each GP has access to a Doctor’s Bag.  For small practices, Drs may share a Doctor’s Bag, however in all circumstances the bag must be readily available for home visits or emergencies in and near the practice


Recommended contents, storage and maintenance

Managing the Doctor's Bag involves several key considerations:

  • Storage and Security: The bag must be stored securely, in line with state laws, safeguarding the contents.

  • Checklist for Consumables and Equipment: A checklist, including expiry dates, is essential for maintaining the bag's readiness.

  • Inclusion of Appropriate PPE: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should be included, considering the ongoing health scenarios.

  • Medication Management: The acquisition, storage, use, and disposal of S4 and S8 drugs must comply with specific state legislation.

  • Safe use of Medicines: GPs must be familiar with the medicines in the bag, including their general use, dosages, and side effects.

Tailoring the Bag's Contents

The contents of the Doctor's Bag should be tailored based on several factors:

  • Location of Practice: Urban, rural, or remote locations have different medical needs.

  • Local Community Health Needs: Understanding prevalent health issues in the community is key.

  • Likely Clinical Conditions: Anticipate the types of emergencies and conditions likely to be encountered.

  • Medicine Shelf Life and Climate: Consider the shelf life and climatic vulnerability of medicine

Take action today, go and check the access, security and contents of your Doctor’s Bag.

Further related learning

Susan Helmrich
Susan Helmrich

Susan is the Head of Nursing Education for the Medcast Group.

DipAppScNsg, BN, CritCareCert, CoronaryCareCert, TraumaNsgCareCert, CertIV(TAE), MN(Ed), and GradCert(Ldrshp & Mgt).

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