CORNERSTONE® Review Update

Practice news
10 December 2018

The design phase is complete, now we’re moving into the test phase.

The College Board met on 5 December 2018 to consider a number of proposals which were developed during the project’s design phase and refined by the fantastic feedback we received from GPs, nurses, practice managers, PHO quality leads, PHO management and others.

About the review

To find out more about the CORNERSTONE® simplification project (including FAQs), click the button below.

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The Board approved all of the project’s recommendations, which were to:

  • increase the Foundation certification period to 4 years and keep the CORNERSTONE® accreditation period at 4 years;
  • retire the CORNERSTONE® annual programme;
  • replace the CORNERSTONE® annual programme with an online, summative mid-cycle review for the Foundation and for the CORNERSTONE® programmes; 
  • allow CORNERSTONE® to become a combination of mandatory and optional modules for practices to complete; and
  • noted that the Primary Health Organisations would continue to be responsible for the assessment of their Foundation-only practices.

The Board also approved a six-month trial of the simplified programme in a range of practices to test whether the changes have made it simpler to implement and maintain Foundation and CORNERSTONE® in practices, and simpler to assess and moderate.

The trial will run from 1 April – 30 September 2019, so full implementation for all Foundation and CORNERSTONE® practices would begin from 1 October 2019. 

A call for interested practices wanting to participate in the trial will be announced in the new year.  

Q&As for Foundation certified practices

Our practice’s Foundation certificate expires before 1 October 2019. How do we get a new Foundation certificate before the new standard is implemented?

Practices will be able to get Foundation recertification via the current programme up until 1 October 2019. First you’ll need to ensure your PHO has a Facilitation Agreement with the College, then you can contact us to obtain access to the QA2QI system. From there you’ll be able to review and update your Foundation standard data. 

Foundation Standard certification gained before 1 October 2019 and under the current programme will be valid for a period of three years.

If the new Foundation certificate is for four years, will the College extend our current certificate expiry date by 12 months so we can have a four-year certificate now?

No. Your current certificate is for accreditation against the existing Foundation Standard; the 4-year accreditation period starts when the new standard comes into place from 1 October 2019.

Who will assess our practice against the Foundation Standard?

There is no change to who does the assessments for Foundation practices. The PHOs will continue to do those assessments and the College will moderate the Foundation Standard assessment to ensure national consistency.

Why do Foundation practices have to do a mid-cycle review? We haven’t had to do any type of assessments during the certificate period before now.

By increasing the Foundation certificate period to four years it’s appropriate to have a review in the middle of the cycle to ensure practices’ systems and processes are up to date and working well. Four years between reviews is a very long time.

The mid-cycle review will be online only – an assessor would not visit the practice. The College will select a sample of indicators from the Foundation Standard (it will not be the entire standard), publicise what is in the sample, and all practices due for a mid-cycle review would upload information for those indicators into QA2QI to be assessed by the PHO.

Q&As for CORNERSTONE® practices

If the new CORNERSTONE® starts from 1 October 2019, what CORNERSTONE® activities should our practice do in the meantime?

Your practice should continue with its annual programme, and if your accreditation is coming up for expiry, you should arrange to be reassessed against the current standard.

Our practice’s CORNERSTONE® accreditation expires before 1 October 2019. What should we do?

Please carry on doing the activities in your annual programme and be accredited against the current standard. Please do not let your accreditation expire.

Our practice took advantage of the College’s offer to extend our accreditation to 1 April 2019, but now the new standard won’t be in place until 1 October 2019. Will the College extend our accreditation again?

Yes, the College will extend your accreditation to 1 July 2019. To be accredited under the current programme, you must complete the work and be assessed before this date.

Our practice’s CORNERSTONE® accreditation expires in 2020-21. Do we need to be reaccredited when the new programme starts, or should we wait until the expiry date on our certificate?

Your current CORNERSTONE® accreditation is valid until the expiry date on the certificate, whether that is in 2019, 2020, 2021 or 2022.

Our practice is partway through the annual programme. What will happen to all the evidence we’ve uploaded into QA2QI? Can we use it to show how we’re achieving the new CORNERSTONE® or do we need to upload brand-new evidence?

The evidence you’ve uploaded into QA2QI for your year 1, 2 and 3 annual assessments will be recognised when you’re assessed against the new CORNERSTONE®programme.

As part of the six-month trial we’ll definitely be testing what evidence practices will need to upload for the new, and optional modules.

We’re a teaching practice. If the CORNERSTONE® implementation date is now 1 October 2019, will all teaching practices still need to be CORNERSTONE® accredited by 1 December 2019?

If you are a teaching practice now, and your CORNERSTONE® accreditation:

  • is current after 1 December 2019, then you willcontinue to be a teaching practice;
  • expires before 1 December 2019, then you should aim to be re-accredited under the current programme.
  • expires after 1 December 2019, then you must comply with the transition requirements (these will be developed in the new year and more information will be sent to you early in 2019).  
Your announcement says the annual programme, including the online assessment, is being retired. When does that take effect?

The annual programme (including the online assessment) will end when the new CORNERSTONE® programme starts on 1 October 2019.

If practices are interested in participating in the trial of the new Foundation or CORNERSTONE® programme please contact the College via