June 2013

Current Progress

The Ministry of Health’s Review of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance (HPCA) Act 2003, conducted by Health Workforce NZ have now agreed the next steps of this process.  

They noted that the majority of submissions considered that the HPCA Act remains a robust framework for the protection of public safety, and that significant legislative change was unnecessary.   After much consideration of the submissions, there have been few areas identified where legislative change is justified.

Since only a small number of changes to the HPCA Act are proposed, Health Workforce New Zealand will progress the review by convening three focus groups to discuss the proposals. Responsible Authority Board chairs will be invited to attend one of two focus groups. The third focus group will have participants from across the sector. They will consider and provide views and advice about the small set of proposals for change. This approach is intended to target discussion at those groups most affected by the proposed changes.  

The focus groups will meet on 1, 2 and 3 July 2013. Individuals will be approached about their interest in participating.  

Following the focus group discussions, Health Workforce New Zealand will provide advice to the Minister about final recommendations from the review, taking into account the views and advice of the focus groups participants. 

March 2013


Health Workforce New Zealand expects to release a second discussion document for the review of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 by the end of March 2013.

There will be an eight week period in which the health sector and public can provide written submissions. The discussion document will summarise the major themes and points of view that came through in the first stage of the consultation, set out some discussion points and ask for comments on options for moving forward.

The final report to Government is due in July 2013.

 September 2012

2012 Review of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003: A discussion document

This publication is about a review of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (the Act).

The main purpose of the HPCA Act is to protect the health and safety of the public. The review will look at how HPCA Act is functioning within the wider health system and how it (or the broader regulatory environment) could be improved. International trends in health occupational regulation point to a strengthening of consumer protection, standardisation of legislation and the design of institutions, and improving the performance of regulatory authorities and considering these trends will form part of the review.

The scope of this review has been agreed by Cabinet and will ensure the Act retains the ability to safeguard health practitioners’ competence; but in a way that supports the delivery of the workforce required both now and for the future.

The Review will assess how:

  • the Act supports the delivery of the workforce required both now and for the future
  • the pastoral care of the health and welfare of health professionals to support the sustainability of the workforce can be improved
  • a robust data collection system to inform sector intelligence and planning can be developed
  • the Act can work effectively within the wider health environment and whether the purpose of the Act remains fit for purpose
  • the health occupational regulatory settings can be improved
  • the Act can provide optimal levels and types of regulation for the next five to ten years
  • the operational functioning of the Act can be improved.

The discussion document has  a focus on four principles to guide the review.

  1. Future focus
    A health occupational regulatory framework that supports workforce flexibility, working in multidisciplinary teams and clinically networked environments
  2. Consumer focus
    Operation of the HPCA Act in a way that is accessible and transparent for consumers
  3. Safety focus
    A systems perspective that balances individual accountability with team and organisational accountabilities for the management of consumer safety
  4. Cost effectiveness focus
    The level of regulation is matched to the level of risk of harm to the public and ensures value for money is maintained

A staged approach will be taken to the review, including a full public consultation.

Australia moves a step closer to registration

 July 2012

The consultation paper on paramedic regulation/registration in Australia has been released. There is to be a two month consultation period.

Ambulance New Zealand will be submitting a submission on behalf of members.  A draft for members to feedback on will be circulated in early August.

The Australian Consultation document can be downloaded here

Ambulance New Zealand submits application to Ministry of Health for regulation of the paramedic workforce.

 June 2011

Ambulance New Zealand submitted its comprehensive application for regulation of the paramedic and Defence Force medic roles to the Ministry of Health.  Due to the current review of the HPCA Act this application will not be considered until the legislative review is complete - anticipated to be early 2013.

The application can be downloaded here.