Notice Type
IMPORTANT --- READ BELOW ******************************************************** [XI] Bills Assented To Note: The title of the Act is shown in italics where this differs from the Bill. [qp] Government Bills Assent No. 25 November 1994 Veterinarians 107 Conservation Amendment (No. 3) 108 (Conservation Amendment) Wildlife Amendment 109 Reserves Amendment 110 Marine Mammals Protection Amendment 111 National Parks Amendment 112 Foreshore and Seabed Endowment Revesting Amendment 113 Wild Animal Control Amendment 114 New Zealand Walkways Amendment 115 Layout Designs 116 Insurance Companies (Ratings and Inspections) 117 Legal Services Amendment 118 [xt] Summary of Bills Presented This section contains a prcis of all bills presented to the House this week. Not all bills presented are introduced. The introduction of a bill requires the agreement of the House. [kl][lf 97,93] Medical Practitioners Consolidates and amends the Medical Practitioners Act 1968, which is consequently repealed. Principle features of the bill are as follows: (a) [ix]The existing categories of registration as a medical practitioner under the Medical Practitioners Act 1968 are replaced with new categories. The most important of these new categories are general registration and vocational registration. At present, any medical practitioner who holds ordinary registration is generally entitled to practise any branch of medicine without supervision or oversight. Under the bill, this category of registration is replaced with the new categories of general registration and vocational registration. (b) The existing provisions of the Medical Practitioners Act 1968 relating to the recognition of overseas qualifications for the purposes of registration as a medical practitioner in New Zealand are replaced with provisions permitting the Medical Council more flexibility in this matter. At present, the Medical Practitioners Act 1968 provides for a person to be granted conditional registration only if that person is a graduate of a New Zealand university or a university or medical school in one of certain specified countries. Graduates of universities or medical schools in other countries must apply for provisional registration and may be required to pass an examination to show proficiency in the practise of medicine and in the English language. The bill provides a more flexible regime for the recognition of overseas medical qualifications. Instead of prescribing different registration requirements for qualifications gained in different countries, the bill provides for the Medical Council to recognise, for the purposes of registration as a medical practitioner, any medical qualification gained from an overseas university or medical school. (c) [ix]The bill contains new provisions to ensure that medical practitioners maintain an adequate level of competence. The bill provides for this in 3 ways: [sp'(c)'] (i) [ix]The existing requirement for medical practitioners to hold annual practising certificates is continued, but provision is made for the Medical Council to decline to issue a practising certificate if it is not satisfied that the practitioner concerned is competent to practise medicine in accordance with his or her registration. [sp'(c)'] (ii) [ix]The bill empowers the Medical Council to review the competence to practise medicine of any medical practitioner who holds a current practising certificate, whether or not there is reason to believe that the practitioner's competence may be deficient. [sp'(c)'] (iii) [ix]The bill empowers the Medical Council to set or recognise competence programmes and recertification programmes. A competence programme is designed to examine or improve the competence to practise medicine of practitioners who hold or apply for practising certificates. A recertification programme is designed to ensure that medical practitioners who hold vocational registration are competent to practise the branch of medicine in which they are registered. (d) [ix]The bill contains provisions relating to quality assurance activities. In general, a quality assurance activity is an activity the purpose of which is to assess or evaluate the quality of health services provided by a medical practitioner, or to study the incidence or causes of conditions or circumstances that may affect the quality of such services. (e) [ix]The bill carries over the existing provisions relating to the reporting of circumstances where a medical practitioner is believed to be unfit to practise medicine on account of physical or mental disability. In addition, the bill confers 2 new powers in relation to practitioners whose fitness to practise medicine may be impaired: [sp'(e)'] [ix] (i) [ix]The president of the Medical Council is empowered to order the interim suspension of a practitioner's registration pending further investigation of the practitioner's fitness to practise: [sp'(e)'] [ix] (ii) [ix]The Medical Council is empowered to order a medical practitioner to submit himself or herself for examination by another medical practitioner: (f) [ix]The bill restructures and simplifies the existing procedures for the disciplining of medical practitioners. The new provisions are linked to the complaints procedures in the Health and Disability Commissioner Act 1994. [sp'(f)'] [ix] Complaints against a medical practitioner will be able to be made either to the Health and Disability Commissioner or to the Registrar to the Medical Council. The investigation of a complaint may be undertaken by the Health and Disability Commissioner or, where a decision is taken under the Health and Disability Commissioner Act 1994 not to take the matter further, by a complaints assessment committee. A complaints assessment committee will investigate cases in which a medical practitioner has been convicted of a certain offence, and complaints that fall outside the jurisdiction of the Health and Disability Commissioner. [sp'(f)'] [ix] In appropriate cases, either the Director of Proceedings (who is appointed under the Health and Disability Commissioner Act 1994) or a complaints assessment committee is empowered to lay a charge against a medical practitioner. [sp'(f)'] [ix] Disciplinary charges against medical practitioners will be heard and determined by a Medical Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal. The Tribunal will be chaired by a medical practitioner and made up of 4 other persons (2 medical practitioners and 2 lay persons) selected from a panel maintained for the purpose. [sp'(f)'] [ix] The Tribunal will have power to suspend the registration of a medical practitioner pending the determination of disciplinary proceedings against him or her. [sp'(f)'] [ix] The bill provides for the hearings of the Tribunal to be in public unless otherwise directed by the Tribunal. As well as general provisions permitting the Tribunal to hold the whole or part of a hearing in private and to prohibit the publication of reports or accounts of the hearing, the bill contains special provisions providing for a complainant to give evidence of matters of a sexual, intimate, or distressing nature in private. [sp'(f)'] [ix] Where the Tribunal finds a charge against a practitioner proved, the Tribunal is empowered to make a range of orders, including the cancellation or suspension of a practitioner's registration, the imposition of conditions on the practise of medicine by a practitioner, a fine of up to $10,000, and a requirement to pay all or part of the costs of the investigation and prosecution of the complaint: (g) [ix]Appeals against decisions of the Medical Council or the Disciplinary Tribunal under the Bill will be to a District Court. There is a further right of appeal to the High Court on a question of law: (h) [ix]The Bill restructures the composition of the Medical Council. (i) [ix]The Bill empowers the Medical Council to prescribe the fees payable in respect of such matters as applications for registration, the issue of practising certificates, and the inspection of the register of medical practitioners. These fees are at present set by regulation. The Bill also continues the existing power of the Medical Council to impose a levy on medical practitioners for the purpose of funding the disciplinary procedures in the bill.[qs] (Hon Jenny Shipley/Referred to Social Services Committee) [ciix]
Publication Date
1 Dec 1994

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