Table 1

Approaches to external quality assessment in general practice

Peer review of professional performanceAssess professional performance of individuals and/or practice teamProfessionals can self-regulate to improve professional performanceSystematic site visit and peer reviewAssessment report.
 No certificate of achievement
Practice accreditationAssess organisation and delivery of specific practice servicesPractices need to demonstrate public accountabilityPeer assessment against explicit standardsAccreditation of practice and development of systems necessary for quality improvement
Excellence modelPromote total quality managementQuality improvements and excellence can be achieved through quality managementFramework for self-assessment and award schemesSystematic quality improvement and quality awards
International Organization for Standardization (ISO) modelImplement international norms for quality systemsQuality systems and management processes can be strengthened and standardised to achieve efficienciesAudit by ISO experts, not peers, against generic, international standardsCertificate of compliance with standards, not intended for organisational development