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About the HPCAA Legislation
The Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (HPCAA)

The Psychotherapist Board of Aotearoa New Zealand (Board) is a statutory authority set up under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (HPCAA) to ensure that psychotherapists are competent and fit to practise their professions.

The HPCAA can be viewed at www.moh.govt.nz/hpca

Functions of the Board

The HPCA Act sets out the functions of authorities under part 6 section 118 (a-m). These functions are:
a) to prescribe the qualifications required for scopes of practice within the profession, and, for that purpose, to accredit and monitor educational institutions and degrees, courses of studies, or programmes:
b) to authorise the registration of health practitioners under this Act, and to maintain registers:
c) to consider applications for annual practising certificates:
d) to review and promote the competence of health practitioners:
e) to recognise, accredit, and set programmes to ensure the ongoing competence of health practitioners:
f) to receive information from any person about the practice, conduct, or competence of health practitioners and, if it is appropriate to do so, act on that information:
g) to notify employers, the Accident Compensation Corporation, the Director-General of Health, and the Health and Disability Commissioner that the practice of a health practitioner may pose a risk of harm to the public:
h) to consider the cases of health practitioners who may be unable to perform the functions required for the practice of the profession:
i) to set standards of clinical competence, cultural competence (including competencies that will enable effective and respectful interaction with Māori), and ethical conduct to be observed by health practitioners of the profession:
j) to liaise with other authorities appointed under this Act about matters of common interest:
ja) to promote and facilitate inter-disciplinary collaboration and co-operation in the delivery of health services:
k) to promote education and training in the profession:
l) to promote public awareness of the responsibilities of the authority:
m) to exercise and perform any other functions, powers, and duties that are conferred or imposed on it by or under this Act or any other enactment.

Purpose of HPCAA

'The principal purpose of the HCPAA is to protect the health and safety of members of the public by providing for mechanisms to ensure that health practitioners are competent and fit to practise their professions'.

The mechanisms to support the purposes are:

  • Scopes of practice describe and define the boundaries of each profession.
  • To ensure professional competence has to be proven in order to register as a health practitioner.
  • Evidence of continuing professional competence is required when a health practitioner applies for an annual practising certificate in order to be able to continue to practise.
  • A Regulatory Authority can suspend a practitioner's Annual Practising Certificate, impose conditions on a scope of practice or alter a practitioner's scope of practice.

Te Tiriti O Waitangi and why it is not mentioned in the HPCAA

Click here to download an extract of a Ministry Document May 2003.


HPCAA Amendment Bill

The Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Amendment Bill (the Bill) had its final reading on 9th April 2019, it received Royal Assent shortly after.

Please refer to www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2003/0048/latest/DLM203312.html to see the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (HPCAA) with amendments now incorporated.