The Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (the Act) provides a framework for the regulation of health practitioners in order to protect the public where there is a risk of harm from professional practice.
Having one legislative framework allows for consistent procedures and terminology across the professions now regulated by the Act. The principal purpose of protecting the health and safety of the public is emphasised and the Act includes mechanisms to ensure that practitioners are competent and fit to practise their professions for the duration of their professional lives.
The Act was passed by Parliament on 11 September 2003 and received the Royal assent on 18 September 2003. The Act came fully into force on 18 September 2004. In doing so, the Act repealed 11 occupational statutes governing 13 professions.
Not all health professions are regulated under the Act. Not being regulated under the Act does not imply that a profession lacks professional standards. Some are not regulated because they pose little risk of harm to the public; some are not regulated because they work under the supervision of a regulated profession; some are regulated in other ways. For example, they may be regulated through their employer or self-regulated by their profession.