The Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act (HPCAA) was passed in September 2003. The HPCAA applies to all health practitioners, not just doctors.
The HPCAA established separate regulatory authorities like the Medical Council of New Zealand to enact the legislation for each group of health practitioners. Each regulatory authority works within the same regulatory framework of the HPCAA.
Purpose of Act
The principal purpose of the Act is to protect the health and safety of members of the public by providing for ways to ensure that all health practitioners are competent and fit to practise their professions.
The mechanisms to support the purposes are:
- Scopes of practice describe and define the boundaries of each profession.
- To ensure professional competence has to be proven in order to register as a health practitioner.
- Evidence of continuing professional competence is required when a health practitioner applies for a practising certificate in order to be able to continue to practise.
- A Regulatory Authority can suspend a practitioner's practising certificate, impose conditions on a scope of practice or alter a practitioner's scope of practice.
The Act requires all doctors register with the Medical Council. If a doctor is not registered with the Council and does not hold a current practising certificate then they can not practise medicine in New Zealand.