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Discipline

Professional Conduct and Discipline

 

Professional Conduct Committees

The Board does not have powers to discipline health practitioners about whom a complaint has been made, however under section 71 of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (HPCA Act) it may appoint a Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) to investigate certain matters.

A PCC is not a sub-committees of the Board.  It is independent of the Board, regulates its own procedure and makes its own decisions.  The recommendations and determinations a PCC may make are set out in section 80 of the HPCA Act and include:

  • recommending that the Board review the practitioner’s competence
  • recommending that the Board review the practitioner’s fitness to practise
  • recommending that the Board review the practitioner’s scope of practice
  • recommending that the Board review the subject matter of the investigation to the police
  • recommending that the Board counsel the practitioner
  • determining that no further steps be taken
  • determining that a charge be brought before the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal
  • in the case of a complaint, determining that the complaint be submitted to conciliation.

 

Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal

If a PCC (or the Health and Disability Commissioner’s Director of Proceedings) lays a charge against a health practitioner, the charge will be heard by the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal (HPDT).  The grounds upon which a practitioner may be disciplined are outlined in section 100 of the HPCA Act and include:

  • professional misconduct as a result of malpractice or negligence
  • professional misconduct that may bring or has brought the profession into disrepute
  • being convicted of an offence that reflects adversely on his/her fitness to practise
  • practising without a practising certificate
  • performing a health service within his/her scope of practice that is not permitted by that scope of practice
  • failure to observe any conditions in his/her scope of practice
  • breach of an order made by the HPDT under section 101.

Penalties available to the HPDT in the event that any of the above cases is found to apply are:

  • cancellation of the practitioner’s registration
  • suspension of the practitioner’s registration for no more than 3 years
  • imposition of conditions on the practitioner’s scope of practice
  • censure
  • a fine of no more than $30,000
  • a requirement that the practitioner contribute to the costs of the proceedings or the PCC’s costs, or the Director of Proceedings’ costs