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
- 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
The Board has written a policy on the naming of practitioners who have undergone a competence review. To view this policy, click here.