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Scopes of practice

Under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 we are required to define the areas of medicine and specialties (known as ‘scopes of practice’) that make up the practice of medicine in New Zealand.

We identify the aspects of the practice of medicine covered by each scope of practice ie the professional service a doctor is permitted to perform. We also determine the qualifications doctors must have to be eligible to gain registration in each of these scopes.

Consequently doctors in New Zealand are registered within one or more scopes of practice rather than needing a particular type of registration.

We have defined three categories of scopes of practice:

  • general – e.g. resident medical officers (RMO) & junior doctors in vocational training
  • vocational – e.g. doctors who have completed their vocational training and have been awarded (or gained) a postgraduate qualification
  • special purpose scopes – e.g. doctors visiting New Zealand for a specific reason such as a locum tenens for up to 12 months

The two additional scopes, provisional general scope and provisional vocational scope, require doctors to work under supervision for at least 12 months.

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