Foundation and CORNERSTONE® simplification 

Project background

Last year the College (in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders) reviewed its quality programme and in December the Board agreed to the following changes:
  • retiring the current Aiming for Excellence Standard and creating two new standards, Foundation and CORNERSTONE®
  • standardising the Foundation and CORNERSTONE® renewal to four years (Foundation Standard was previously three years)
  • shifting the annual assessment for both Foundation and CORNERSTONE® to an online midcycle review
  • running a six-month pilot of the new standards from April 2019
  • implementing the finalised standards nationally from October 2019

New modular approach

The new Foundation Standard will be one module that represents legal, professional and regulatory requirements that a general practice must meet as part of providing safe, effective and equitable care.
The new CORNERSTONE® standard will be modular. To achieve CORNERSTONE® accreditation, practices will need to be accredited against the Foundation Standard, the Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) module and one other module of their choice. Initially, practices will have three modules to choose from.

Initially, there will be three options to choose from (a General Practice module, a Minor Surgery module and a Teaching module), but further modules will be added at a later date.


If you have any questions about the project, please email


In April we’ll send all practices a link to the new Foundation Standard module along with an invitation to participate in the pilot.  

The CQI, Teaching and General Practice modules are expected to be ready to be piloted in May. 
We’re aiming for a range of practices to participate in the pilots (small, medium, large, urban, rural etc), so we can get a broad range of feedback before implementing the standards from October 2019.
We want the new standards to meet the needs of practices – so please consider participating in the pilot. Your input will help shape the future Foundation and CORNERSTONE® standards. 

Frequently asked questions

If my certification expires after 1 October, why would I participate in the pilot?

We want the new standards to meet the needs of practices, so we need your input and experience. The pilot is an opportunity for practices to shape the future standard. If you are certified against the pilot, your certification will last four years.

What kind of support will be available to practices participating in the pilot?
We will be providing guidance in the form of webinars, workshops, training and phone support.

My CORNERSTONE accreditation is due in the next 12 months. If I participate in the pilot will this replace the outdated standard? 

Your accreditation expiry date will remain the same but you can participate in the pilot and be accredited against the new standard.

Which modules are being piloted and how many do I need to complete?

To achieve CORNERSTONE® accreditation you must meet three modules:

  • Foundation (mandatory)
  • Continuing Quality Improvement (mandatory)
  • A module of your choice from: General Practice, Teaching and Minor Surgery.

    The College is planning to develop further modules.


  • How long will it take to work through the pilot?

    We are asking practices to complete the pilot in four to six months so we can evaluate the feedback before the new standards are implemented.

    Will there be any extra work in addition to the pilot? 

    We will welcome feedback during the pilot and send out a survey at the end of the pilot to help us refine the standards before national implementation. 

    What if I choose to opt out of the pilot?

    You will revert to the old standard and your accreditation expiry date will remain as it is currently.