Section 171 of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (the Act) requires the Director-General of Health to review the operation of the Act three years after it has come into force.
The Ministry of Health began the review in September 2007. The Ministry consulted responsible authorities, professional colleges, unions, educators, district health boards, employers, professional bodies and government agencies on their experiences with the Act, and on various issues that arose during the review. This involved four rounds of consultation over 18 months.
The Director-General of Health has now completed the review of the Act and reported to the Minister of Health. The Minister tabled the report in Parliament on 4 June 2009.
Overall the review finds that the Act has been received well by the sector and is operating as Parliament intended. The review does, however, identify some areas where the Act requires minor improvement. The Director-General has recommended 18 minor legislative changes for inclusion in the next Statutes Amendment Bill. These changes will improve the efficiency and flexibility of processes for professional conduct committees, the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal and complaints.
The Director-General’s remaining recommendations highlight areas where responsible authorities, the Ministry and district health boards can work together to improve their operation. These recommendations do not require amendment to the Act.
The Ministry is currently developing a work programme to implement the Director-General's recommendations from the review. A full list of the Director-General's recommendations is set out in Appendix 1 of the review report.