Regulatory impact statement
The Health Practitioners (Replacement of Statutory References to Medical Practitioners) Bill is to amend seven Acts to increase the range of health practitioners authorised to undertake functions under those Acts by changing the current references to medical practitioners to references to health practitioners. This will increase statutory flexibility and improve consumer access to the skills of health practitioners who are qualified to provide services.
There are two Regulatory Impact Statements (RISs) which concern the Health Practitioners (Replacement of Statutory References to Medical Practitioners) Bill. One RIS accompanied a 2011 Cabinet Paper and the other RIS accompanied a 2013 Cabinet Paper.
Currently the legislation sets out functions to be carried out by medical practitioners. The original intent of these statutory measures was to protect public safety by ensuring that only medical practitioners (doctors) with the required knowledge and skills were permitted to perform certain tasks. However, over time the training of health practitioners has changed. New technologies and treatment have been developed and the health workforce has adapted and diversified. Many health professional groups are now capable of performing tasks that were previously solely the domain of medical practitioners.
Some health professions are regulated by the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003. The Health Practitioners (Replacement of Statutory References to Medical Practitioners) Bill provides for the responsible authorities established under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act, to govern each profession and to establish scopes of practice setting out which activities each class of practitioners is competent to carry out under this Bill.
The amended Acts will enable health practitioners with the required competencies and knowledge to lawfully perform certain statutory responsibilities such as participating in claimants’ individual rehabilitation plans, issuing certificates of proof of illness or injury, providing ongoing health care, arranging medical examinations of children or young people, and taking blood specimens from road users. The amendments will make it easier for the public to access the statutory services from health practitioners and will facilitate innovative and efficient practice by practitioners.