Towards strengthening recertification

Council has been working closely with medical colleges and employers to develop strengthened recertification requirements for vocationally-registered doctors working in New Zealand.

Colleges have already begun work to refine and review their recertification programmes in line with the proposed approach, with many already well on the way towards having these in place within the next three years.

The new model moves away from a time-based approach to one where the focus is on activities that offer the greatest value according to that doctor’s scope of practice, where they work and the actual work they do.

This aligns to our key principles that we set back in 2016, that quality recertification activities are those that are:

  • Evidence-based
  • Those that inform ongoing learning and development
  • Informed by relevant data
  • Based on the doctor’s actual work and workplace setting
  • Profession-led
  • Directed to clinical and cultural competencies
  • Directed to cultural safety
  • Informed by and referenced to the New Zealand Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights, and
  • Supported by employers.

Feedback we received following a consultation on the proposed model was generally supportive of this approach and led to further work to refine the core elements that must be included in all recertification programmes. These are summarised in this diagram:

What this means for vocationally-registered doctors is that recertification providers (in most cases the medical colleges) will be developing their programmes so that all doctors complete these core requirements as a minimum.

The core requirements for all recertification programmes will be that:

  1. Doctors must complete a mix of activities, as prescribed by the programme provider, across all three categories of Continuing Professional Development (CPD):
  2. Reviewing and reflecting on practice.
  3. Measuring and improving outcomes.
  4. Educational activities (Continuing medical education – CME).
  5. Doctors must have a structured conversation with a peer, colleague or employer (at least annually) to discuss outcome data from activities already undertaken (for example, CPD, educational activities or other activities), the doctor’s personal reflection on their practice, learning aspirations, professional development, wellbeing, and their career stage and intentions.
  6. Doctors should use the information gathered from all these activities, and the structured conversation, to inform the development and ongoing maintenance of a professional development plan (PDP). Setting and achieving goals in a PDP can guide further learning to address identified development needs, achieve educational and career aspirations, consider changes for improving the doctor’s own health and wellbeing, and to plan for their future.

Cultural safety and a focus on health equity must be embedded within all recertification activities.

While the Council sets high level requirements that all programmes must include, it will be up to each college to decide what the particular activities are that are of most value to their scope of practice and how much weighting to give particular activities.

Colleges and employers are being encouraged to work together to reduce duplication in activities – so doctors can do something once but count it for several purposes, such as for recertification, annual appraisal and/or credentialing.

The intention is that the activities doctors undertake as part of their recertification programmes are meaningful, indicate development opportunities and support doctors to plan and improve their practice.

Also in this edition of Medical Council News