Recognition of vocational scopes of practice

The Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (HPCAA) requires us to specify the scopes of practice within which doctors are permitted to practice, and to describe and define the boundaries of each.

We have 36 recognised vocational scopes of practice.

Recognised vocational scopes of practice

Council has 36 recognised vocational scopes of practice. These are areas of specialised medical practice, each defined by an accredited postgraduate training programme and qualification. Council accredits the training and recertification programmes against the relevant standards.

Council recognises that each scope of practice must be supported by a robust training programme, delivering an appropriate qualification for that scope, and that doctors registered in that new scope need to have access to a recertification programme directed to maintaining competence in that scope.

To be recognised, each scope must therefore have:

  • a defined body of knowledge and practice
  • a recognised health need
  • an acceptable training programme with a nationally recognised qualification
  • an acceptable recertification programme
  • a national organisation with the authority to advise us on vocational scopes.

Recognition of new vocational scopes of practice in New Zealand

All applications for new vocational scopes of practice and associated training programmes in New Zealand must meet the Council's Standards for recognition of vocational scopes of practice. This is currently a two-stage process, and you can download information below.

Should you have any queries regarding this, please email

Training provider accreditation standards

Once a scope has been recognised, the training provider or recertification provider must meet the relevant vocational training provider accreditation standards.