Certificate of professional status (COPS)
Certificates of professional status (COPS) are documents used by medical professional regulators to share information about whether a doctor is in good standing. Doctors applying for registration, restoration or returning from practising outside New Zealand need to provide us with certificates of professional status.
Certificates of professional status
Certificates of professional status (COPS) are documents used by medical professional regulators to share information about whether a doctor is in good standing. They usually contain the following information:
- registration or licensing history
- whether the doctor is the subject of a pending or open complaint or enquiry
- whether action has been taken on a doctor’s registration
- whether the doctor is subject to a competence or health review or monitoring.
Doctors applying for registration, restoration or returning from practising outside New Zealand need to provide us with certificates of professional status. We can’t register you or issue your practising certificate until we receive all of the required COPS.
- We need a COPS from every regulatory authority you have practised under in the last 5 years, or since you last practised in New Zealand (whichever is shorter).
- The regulatory authority must email the COPS directly to us at email@example.com. We will not accept forwarded copies.
- All COPS must be dated within the 3 months immediately before you start practising medicine in New Zealand.
Alternative names for COPS
Different regulatory authorities have different names for COPS. They could be called:
- certificates of current professional status
- license verifications
- certificates of good standing (COGS)
- certificates of registration status (CORS)
- certificates of professional conduct (COPC).
The common feature of these documents is that they tell us whether a doctor is in good standing with that regulatory authority.
The UK General Medical Council has a useful resource listing all medical regulatory authorities by country , to help you find the right organisation.
Some regulatory authorities only issue COPS in hard copy. In this case, they should be sent directly to us. Please ask for it to be sent to:
Medical Council of New Zealand
PO Box 10509
If they will only send the hard copy to you, please bring it to your registration meeting with Council. It needs to be the original, not a copy. Please also bring the original envelope or packaging.
We will only accept hard copy COPS where the regulatory authority does not issue one by email.
All COPS must be dated within 3 months of the date you will start practising medicine in New Zealand. If your start date changes, remember to check whether your COPS are still valid.
Disclosing a conduct or competence matter
If you are disclosing a competence or conduct matter, we must receive all of your COPS before you send us your application.
We need the COPS from wherever the disclosed event, or events, took place.
If you apply for registration more than 3 months before your start date (which we recommend you do), we will need two sets of COPS; one when you apply, and one within the 3 months immediately before you start work.
Letters of standing
If you have practised medicine in the last 5 years in any place where you were not registered with a regulatory authority (for example volunteer work) you will need to provide a letter of standing.
This letter must be from a senior member of the organisation which hosted you for the voluntary medical work, on their letterhead, and include the following details:
- Your full name (as on your passport)
- The dates you volunteered (in month/year format)
- The nature of your work
- Whether there were any disciplinary or performance concerns while you worked with the organisation
The letter must be dated within 3 months of the date you will start practising medicine in New Zealand.
Your host organisation must email the letter directly to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Renewing practising certificates
If you are applying to renew your practising certificate and you have practised medicine outside of New Zealand since you were last issued a practising certificate, you will be required to provide evidence of requesting a COPS.
Council will need to receive either this evidence, or the COPS itself, before we renew your practising certificate.
Such evidence could include:
- a confirmation email or screenshot of web page acknowledging your request for a COPS
- payment for a COPS
Other forms of evidence may also be accepted.