To practise as an optometrist or a dispensing optician in New Zealand, you must be registered with the Board AND hold a current practising certificate.
Under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act, the Board may register an applicant within a scope of practice if the applicant is fit for registration, has the qualifications that have been prescribed for the scope of practice, and is competent to practise within that scope of practice.
Fitness for registration is set out under section 16 of the Act and requires the applicant to make a statutory declaration concerning the applicant’s ability to communicate (includes satisfactory English language standard), criminal convictions, mental and physical health, professional history and disciplinary proceedings.
The Board must consider a duly completed application for registration or for a change of scope of practice as soon as reasonably practicable.
The Board may, if it thinks fit, receive any other information from, or question, the applicant, or any other person, in respect of an application being considered. The Board must advise the applicant about the identity of the person to be questioned and the nature of the questions.
Before authorising registration or authorising a change to an applicant’s scope of practice, the Board may require the applicant to take and pass an examination or assessment that is set or recognised by the authority, for the purpose of satisfying the Board that the applicant is competent to practise or that the applicant’s ability to communicate in and comprehend English is sufficient to protect the health and safety of the public.
The Board can authorise a change to the scope of practice through, for example, the inclusion of conditions in the applicant’s scope of practice. The conditions must be of a kind that the Board considers are required to ensure the competent and safe practice of the applicant e.g. that the practitioner practise subject to the supervision of one or more nominated health practitioners.
The HPCA Act (Part 2, Sections 15-25) should be read for full understanding of all of the sections of the Act concerning registration.