Humanitarian and Emergency Scope of Practice
This notice is given pursuant to sections 11 and 12 of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (HPCAA) and comes into effect on 24 August 2020. It is to be read together with the following scope of practice for the Occupational Therapy Board:
General Scope of Practice: Occupational Therapist Occupational therapists are registered health professionals, who use processes of enabling occupation to optimise human activity and participation in all life domains across the lifespan, and thus promote the health and well-being of individuals, groups, and communities. These life domains include: learning and applying knowledge; general tasks and demands; communication; mobility; self-care; domestic life; interpersonal interaction and relationships; major life areas; and community, social and civic life. Enabling occupation incorporates the application of knowledge, principles, methods and procedures related to understanding, predicting, ameliorating or influencing peoples’ participation in occupations within these life domains. Such practice is evidence-based*, undertaken in accordance with the Occupational Therapy Board’s prescribed Competencies and Code of Ethics, and within the individual therapist’s area and level of expertise.
In line with its Special Purposes Scope of Practice Policy found on its website the Occupational Therapy Board has developed a mechanism for the registration and issuing of a practising certificate in times of emergency where specialist humanitarian skills and experience are needed.
The name of the scope is Response to Humanitarian and Emergencies and is promulgated under section 11 of the HPCAA.
Occupational therapy practitioners who are registered and hold a current practising certificate do not need to apply for this Special Purposes Scope of Practice.
The reason for this Special Purposes Scope of Practice is to enable registration, for those practitioners not currently registered and not holding a current practising certificate, within a special purpose scope of practice to be activated in humanitarian and emergency situations such as that currently existing in New Zealand in respect of the COVID-19 epidemic. The scope of practice is for a short duration and is not to be seen as a mechanism to gain permanent registration within the general scope of practice – occupational therapy or any other scope of practice developed by the Occupational Therapy Board.
The Occupational Therapy Board is responsible for protecting the health and safety of members of the New Zealand public by providing mechanisms to ensure that occupational therapists are fit and competent to practice (HPCAA, 2003, section 3).
The Occupational Therapy Board is conscious of the need to strike a balance between protecting the public and addressing health and social care needs during a time of crisis.
1. Applicants for Registration
The following requirements for consideration for registration in this scope are:
- Those who have a prescribed New Zealand or equitable overseas qualification in occupational therapy approved by the Occupational Therapy Board; or
- Those who have an overseas qualification which is treated by the Occupational Therapy Board as a prescribed qualification because, in the opinion of the Occupational Therapy Board, the overseas qualification is equivalent to, or as satisfactory as, a prescribed qualification (as set out in section 15(2) of the HPCAA)
Additional requirements for consideration for registration in this scope are:
- Those who are fit for registration as an occupational therapist in terms of section 16 of the HPCAA; and
- Those who are competent to practice within a scope of practice under the Occupational Therapy Board’s “Policy for the registration within a special purpose scope of practice” available on the website of the Occupational Therapy Board;
Additionally, people with a registration history with the Occupational Therapy Board of New Zealand (OTBNZ) may apply, namely:
- Those paying registration maintenance and who have practised as an occupational therapist within the last 3 years; or
- Those who have not held a practising certificate as an occupational therapist for the last 3 years; or
- Those who have retired from practising as an occupational therapist within the last 3 years; or
- Students in an accredited occupational therapy programme.
2. Ineligibility of Applicants
The following should not apply for registration in a special purposes scope of practice:
- Those who have had had their names removed from the register of occupational therapists by the Occupational Therapy Board under sections 146 or 147 of the HPCAA, or by order of the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal; and/or
- Those who have, within the last 3 years, had their registration as an occupational therapist suspended by the Occupational Therapy Board; and/or
- Those who have disciplinary or competence issues with the equivalent registration authority of occupational therapists within another jurisdiction1 and/or
- Those who have had, in the last 3 years, conditions placed on their scope of practice as an occupational therapist under: sections 39 (interim suspension), 50 (inability to perform functions (health)), 67A (notice of conviction), 69 (pending investigation, conduct in doubt), or 101 (penalties of tribunal) of the HPCAA.
3. Registration Requirements for Special Purposes Scope Response to Emergencies
To obtain registration within the Special Purposes Scope Response to Humanitarian and Emergencies
the applicant must:
- Be fit for registration in terms of section 16 of the HPCAA;
- Be deemed competent to practice by the Occupational Therapy Board;
- Hold an acceptable qualification, or be formally studying for a recognised qualification which would, when successfully completed would lead to registration with the Occupational Therapy Board;
- (If applicable) Be sponsored by the educational institution where the student is studying;
- Meet the Occupational Therapy Board’s English language policyi; and
- Meet the supervision requirements described in item 4.2 below.
4. Conditions While Practising Within the Special Purposes Scope Response to Humanitarian and Emergencies
Once registered in a special purposes scope the registrant must practice:
- Within New Zealand;
- Be under the supervision of another occupational therapist or registered health professional with a current practising certificateii; and,
- Work within the requirements of the particular scope of practice.
5. Duration of Special Purposes Scope Response to Humanitarian and Emergencies
The duration of the Special Purposes Scope Responding to COVID-19 will be six months.
6. Issuing of practising certificates
Following successful registration applicants will be issued a practising certificate identifying the name and any conditions of Special Purposes Scope Response to Humanitarian and Emergencies. This will be an electronic practising certificate indicating the timeframe of the certificate.
There will be no fees payable for applications to register and receive a practising certificate for Special Purposes Scope Response to Humanitarian and Emergencies.
8. Applying for registration and practising certificate in the Special Purposes Scope Response to Humanitarian and Emergencies
Applications for registration and a practising certificate for the Special Purposes Scope Response to Humanitarian and Emergencies can be made via the Board’s website.2
Dated at Wellington this 14th day of August 2020.
ANDREW CHARNOCK, Registrar, Occupational Therapy Board of New Zealand.
Special Purposes Scope of Practice
The person can practice within the scope of practice – Occupational Therapist described above.
1 Such issues will be identified by searching the register of the overseas jurisdiction and/or disclosed by the applicant at the time of application for this scope of practice.
i At times of crisis this requirement may be lessened following agreement by the Occupational Therapy Board.
ii The level of supervision will be what can be reasonable achieved within the particular situation and level of crisis.
Note: This notice replaces the notice published in the New Zealand Gazette, 27 March 2020, Notice No. 1431.