The Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (the Act) came into force in September 2004. The Act provides a framework for regulating health professions to ensure the public is protected from harm when receiving health services. The Act currently regulates 21 health professions.
Section 115 of the Act allows the Minister of Health (the Minister) to recommend additional health services for inclusion under the Act. Before such a recommendation is made, the Minister must be satisfied under section 116 that the services pose a risk of harm to the public or it is otherwise in the public interest to regulate them.
The Director-General of Health (the Director-General) recently completed a review of the operation of the Act. Concerns were raised during the review that New Zealand has ‘a proliferation of registration authorities’. The Director-General therefore recommended that the Ministry of Health (the Ministry) review the criteria it uses to advise the Minister whether regulation is justified.
The purpose of this discussion document is to:
- outline the policy principles that are relevant to regulating health professions
- discuss the Ministry’s current criteria for regulation and those used in similar jurisdictions
- propose revised criteria to assist the Ministry in advising the Minister whether a profession ‘poses a risk of harm’ or ‘it is otherwise in the public interest’ to regulate that profession.