CORNERSTONE® and Foundation Standard Simplification Project Update

Practice news
26 February 2019
Hello everyone,

I’m Steve Kelly, the new Foundation Standard and CORNERSTONE® Simplification Project Manager. I started at the College last month and have been working with the Quality team to continue the work done last year to simplify our CORNERSTONE® programme.


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

The Board agreed we should trial the new standards before implementing them, and that’s the work I’m involved in.


What's new

Here’s an update on what we’re currently working on and what’s coming up: 

How the new standards will work – 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:

General Practice
Teaching Practice
Minor Surgery

Additional modules will be developed over time.

New standard development

The process we are following to complete the development and implementation of the new Foundation and CORNERSTONE® standards includes finalising the draft modules with an expert advisory group. We will then pilot the modules with practices and use the feedback to refine the standards before national implementation begins from October.

The new Foundation Standard has progressed through the advisory group process and the Quality team is continuing work on the CORNERSTONE modules® (Continuous Quality Improvement, General Practice and Teaching Practice).

The Minor Surgery module will be achieved by recognition of Southern Cross GP Minor Surgery certification – the process for formalising recognition will be developed.

Foundation and CORNERSTONE® pilot

In March, we will invite practices to participate in the Foundation Standard pilot, and in April, we will invite practices to participate in the CORNERSTONE® Standard pilot.
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. 

Expiring contracts

Please note, if your contact expires before 1 October 2019, we will extend it until the new standards are officially launched. We will also pro-rata your annual fee accordingly.

Contact and more information

If you have any questions about the project, please email