Not all health professions are regulated under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act (the Act). Not being regulated under the Act does not imply that a profession lacks professional standards.
There are a range of reasons why a profession may not be regulated under the Act. These reasons include:
- a low level of risk of harm
- practitioners work with, or under the supervision of a regulated, profession
- employment arrangements provide an appropriate form of regulation outside the Act to minimise risk of harm to the public
- self-regulation by the profession can provide an appropriate form of regulation
Other forms of regulation outside the Act can also adequately address the competence and fitness to practice of a number of professions. For example, an employer such as a District Health Board, may have in place education and training qualification requirements for employees in non-regulated health professions.
Statutory regulation under the Act is only used if these other forms of regulation are not sufficient to protect the public where there is a risk of harm from the practice of the profession.
Members of the public have the right to ask any health practitioner what qualifications they have. Members of the public also have the right to contact professional associations to ask what is required of their members, particularly in terms of qualifications, continuing professional development and code of practice. Members of the public can also contact a professional association to ask if a particular practitioner is a member of that association.
All practitioners providing health or disability services, whether from regulated or non-regulated professions, are subject to the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights. The Code has ten rights covering being treated with respect and dignity, being given information in a way that is clear, being given quality care and having the right to make a complaint if you believe one or more of these rights have been breached.