In July an education and registration working party for Ambulance New Zealand released a series of discussion documents on registration for ambulance officers and defence force medics in New Zealand. These may be viewed by going to the dedicated website on registration at http://www.ambulancenz.co.nz/.

As part of helping practitioners learn more about registration, a consultation program is underway where people with knowledge about regulation will outline the potential impacts of  registration. This consultation process began in August with a series of forums throughout New Zealand seeking feedback and comment from interested parties.  This will be followed by surveys, focus groups and webinars during September 2010.

The background for regulation in New Zealand focuses around the Health Practitioners’ Competence Assurance Act 2003 (HPCAA), under which New Zealand health professions can be regulated if the government thinks a particular profession has the potential to pose a risk of harm to the health and safety of the public.

To be eligible for regulation, a profession must meet certain criteria set out under the Act and paramedics and New Zealand Defence Force medics may fit into this category.

Each regulated health profession is overseen by a Responsible Authority to ensure compliance with the requirements of the Act. The Responsible Authority is made up of people who are appointed by the Minister of Health. Most of these people come from the profession itself – drawn from the peer group of practising professionals. The Minister also appoints a small number of people from outside the profession to represent the public and users of the particular health services.

The Responsible Authority gets input from the profession to set up:

  • scopes of practice; and
  • standards of clinical competence, cultural competence and ethical conduct

They must do these tasks in consultation with the practitioners who will be covered by regulation, as well as others in the sector such as employers.

“This independent and structured approach to practitioner regulation parallels the calls that the profession has made for paramedic registration in Australia” ACAP President, Mr Ian Patrick said. “It is also similar to the general principles for registration under the Australian Health Professions Registration Agency (AHPRA).”    http://www.ahpra.gov.au/

Mr Patrick affirmed the intention of ACAP to monitor developments in New Zealand and actively contribute to discussions about practitioner regulation with our New Zealand colleagues and other organisations as appropriate.