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Strengthening recertification for vocationally registered doctors

The consultation on Council’s proposal to strengthen recertification for vocationally registered doctors created a high level of interest from the sector and prompted excellent feedback.

Council received 149 submissions from national and international regulators, medical colleges, unions, employers, other groups and individuals. You can access the submission here (noting some submitters have asked not to be published and a small number of others have agreed to publishing but asked for anonymity).

Many of the submissions received in the consultation on strengthening recertification for vocationally registered doctors supported the general direction and core concepts of Council’s proposal, but some individual doctors and medical colleges had concerns and sought more information about how it could be implemented.  Council has acted to clarify some aspects of the original proposal, such as making it clear we do not see any evidence to support specific mandatory activities for older doctors.

The feedback also suggested a number of submitters could benefit from further engagement and clarification from Council about the intent of the proposed changes.

Council considered all the feedback at its meeting in July 2017, and resolved to undertake further engagement and discussion with the profession and wider stakeholders as a next step in this work.  

Council is aware of the need to avoid, where possible, additional work or costs for the profession and intends to work collaboratively to avoid duplication of processes.  For example, employers may mandate some form of annual appraisal for some doctors, while colleges may wish to have specific issues considered on an annual basis; a process done once that addresses both needs would seem ideal if such a process was a component of CPD.

Next steps

Council has developed a paper referencing the evidence for recertification activities.

Following discussion about the feedback, Council has decided to establish a stakeholder advisory group with broad membership from across the sector to consider key issues and provide recommendations on the way forward.

While this wider group is being developed, a smaller working group of colleges and employers will get work underway and make recommendations to the wider group to consider. All feedback from both of these groups will then be considered by Council.

Specific membership of these groups has not yet been decided, but Council intends to approach a range of organisations and people shortly for their assistance. A terms of reference for each group
will also be developed to help guide their work and ensure progress towards a workable solution that adds value and is considerate of requirements for both doctors and medical colleges.

Council will keep the profession and stakeholders updated once the working group and stakeholder advisory group have been established and will be providing further updates as this work progresses.

Background to this work

Doctors working in New Zealand are respected for the high standard of care they provide and are considered one of the most trusted professions. Council and the profession need to take a lead in providing assurance to the public that their trust and confidence in doctors is warranted. One of the ways of achieving this is by Council setting and recognising recertification programmes.

Council needs to ensure that recertification programmes for doctors are robust, help assure the public that the doctor is competent and fit to practise, and improve the standards of practice. Council achieves this by setting standards and accrediting providers of recertification programmes. The medical colleges, as providers of the programmes, are charged with ensuring each doctor completes their recertification programme and they determine details of audit of medical practice and peer review. 

Following an initial consultation with the sector, Council set the Vision and Principles for Recertification, which were published in February 2016.   These principles remain in place; the key for Council is to assess the feedback and determine how the principles are put into practice in light of the issues raised. 

Feedback from this initial consultation indicated a need for Council to provide further guidance about how medical colleges should develop their recertification programmes to align with the vision and principles.  This, of course, led to the recent proposal and consultation on strengthening recertification for vocationally registered doctors. 


Download Submissions made to consultation

Download Recertification – evidence for change, a literature review 

Vision and Principles for Recertification

Consultation on strengthening recertification for vocationally registered doctors

Next Steps

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