As a registered optometrist or dispensing optician, you are obliged to abide by the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act (HPCA Act). As well as your obligations with regard to your own practice, there are other obligations relating to concerns about registered colleagues. These include:
- Under section 34(1) of the Act you may notify the Board if you believe another optometrist or dispensing optician may pose a risk of harm by practising below the required standard.
- Under section 34(1) of the Act, you may notify the relevant health regulatory authority if you believe a health practitioner of another kind may pose a risk of harm by practising below the required standard.
- Under section 45(1) and (2) of the Act you must notify the Board if you have reason to believe an optometrist or dispensing optician is unable to perform the functions required for the practice of his/her profession because of mental or physical illness. This may include self-notification where you are injured or unwell.
- Under section 45(1) and (2) of the Act you must notify the relevant health regulatory authority if you believe a health practitioner of another kind is unable to perform the functions required for the practice of his/her profession because of mental or physical illness. The Board can help put you in touch with the appropriate authority.
In regard to all of the above provisions, no civil or disciplinary proceedings lie against any person who gives such a notice to the Board unless the person has acted in bad faith. You are welcome to contact the Registrar if you wish to discuss your obligations, but should note that the Board is unable to act without written evidence of a concern.
Click here for more information on the Board’s fitness to practise (health) process.
Dispensing Opticians – Practising Legally
The Board has prepared an information pamphlet for Dispensing Opticians which explains how to practise legally and in accordance with the Dispensing Optician Scope of Practice. Click here to view this pamphlet.
Note to employers
Whenever an employee employed as a health practitioner resigns or is dismissed from his or her employment for reasons relating to competence, the person who employed the employee immediately before that resignation or dismissal must give the Registrar of the Board written notice of the reasons for that resignation or dismissal.
Other legislation affecting practice in New Zealand
Practitioners must maintain a working knowledge of the responsibility placed upon his or her professional activities by current legislation and any new legislation that may be enacted. As well as the HPCA Act, other legislation affecting registered health practitioners includes:
Medicines Act 1981
Medicines Amendment Act 2013
Privacy Act 1993
Health Information Privacy Code 1994
The Health (Retention of Health Information) Regulations 1996
Consumers Guarantees Act 1993
Fair Trading Act 1986
Health and Disability Commissioner Act 1994
Code of Health and Disability Services
Land Transport Act 1998 (section 18)
Health and Safety at Work Act 2015
Health Act 1956
Vulnerable Children Act 2014