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Reference requirements

All applications for registration in New Zealand must be accompanied by at least three comprehensive references.

Why we require references

Authentic references from your senior medical colleagues who are familiar with your current professional practice and have worked with you recently, are the best way to determine if you are fit and competent to practise medicine.

Ensuring doctors are competent and fit to practise is our principal purpose, under section 3 of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003.

To ensure the authenticity of references, it is important there is direct communication between your employer (or agent) and your referees. This helps to ensure the objectivity of the references.

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Vocational and special purpose (locum tenens) scopes of practice applications

  • Your references must be completed by consultants/specialists who are familiar with your current professional practice and have worked with you for at least 6 months within the last 3 years.
  • At least one of your three references must be from your most recent employer.
  • Your referees must be consultants/specialists practising in the same branch of medicine as you and they must have worked closely with you and be familiar with your practice at a consultant/specialist level.
  • All references must be completed using our referee report form (RP6).
  • All references must be dated within 6 months of when we receive your completed registration application.
  • Where you are applying for registration within a vocational scope of practice, our staff will contact your referees directly to verify their references.
  • Where you are applying for registration within a special purpose scope of practice (locum tenens), your employer/agent must provide us with evidence that your references have been verified.

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General and provisional general scopes of practice applications

All comparable health system and competent authority applications for registration must be accompanied by at least three comprehensive references.

  • These references must be completed by senior medical colleagues who are familiar with your current professional practice and have worked with you for at least 6 months within the last 3 years.
  • At least one reference must be from your most recent employer. In the case of house officers who are rotating across different areas of medicine every 3 or 4 months, the ‘most recent employer’ reference must be from a senior colleague who has been working on the same attachment as you at the time that the application for registration is submitted to Council. (This will not be required if you had recently rotated to a new attachment within the same hospital and have worked on the current attachment for less than one month at the time that your application is submitted to the Council, unless other referees have indicated that there may be concerns about your practice).
  • Where you are applying for registration at registrar level or above, your referees must be consultants/specialists working in the same branch of medicine as you and they must have worked closely with and be familiar with your practice.
  • References must be either:
    • a verbal report between the employer/agent and the referee, or
    • an email sent from the referee directly to the employer/agent.
    • All references must be completed using our referee report form (RP9).
    • Note: we do not define the format and content of written references.
  • For written references your employer/agent must:
    • verify (by direct telephone contact) that these references are authentic
    • provide us with evidence these references have been verified.
  • All references must be dated within 6 months of when we receive your completed registration application.

Forms, checklists and fees

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