Introduction to scopes of practice

The professional services a doctor can perform in New Zealand are defined by the scope of practice for which they are registered.

We identify what each scope of practice covers and determine the qualifications a doctor must have to be eligible to attain registration in each of these. This means doctors in New Zealand are registered within one or more scopes of practice, rather than needing a particular type of registration.

Broad categories

There are both three broad categories of scopes of practice:

  • General – usually resident medical officers (RMO) & doctors in vocational training
  • Vocational – doctors who have completed their vocational training and hold a postgraduate qualification that has been approved by Council
  • Special purpose scopes – doctors visiting New Zealand for a specific reason such as to undertake research.

Supervision and provisional scopes

Both the General scope of practice and the Vocational scopes of practice have associated scopes of practice that require registrants to work under approved supervision and in approved positions. These scopes of practice are the Provisional General scope of practice and the Provisional Vocational scope of practice.

International Medical Graduates who apply for the General, or a vocational scope, will typically be granted a provisional scope, and then need to successfully complete a period of supervision before applying for the general or vocational scope.

Detailed information for each scope

The information on this page is just an overview. The pages below contain detailed information about each scope of practice.