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Healthcare sector has become the most crucial yet effective sector in this 21st century as advancement of the healthcare means has increased the possibility of positive outcomes and has developed interventions for critical healthcare conditions (Shannon & McKenzie-Green, 2016). However, with advancement of the healthcare means, illegal healthcare facilities and professionals has acquired a large section of community, thereby increasing their risk of disease burden (Lovatt et al., 2015). To protect these communities from harmful effect of such actions, the New Zealand government has implemented The Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 so that people could be provided with safe and secured healthcare service by trained and registered healthcare professionals (Legislation.govt.nz, 2019). Besides this, this act helps public by protecting their health and safety rights and ensures that healthcare professionals show competence to quality and safety throughout their practice (Legislation.govt.nz, 2019).
The primary aim of this paper is to discuss the scope as well as the functions of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act (HPCA) 2003 and its role and significance in the role of health professionals in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Further, with application of this act, the role of palliative care practitioner would be compared with the pediatric care nursing. Finally, the scopes and standards of practice related to both these professionals would be discussed.
The HPCA (2003) Act
The Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (HPCA) was passed by the NZ parliament on 11th September 2003 and from 18th September 2003, the act was completely implemented in the healthcare system (along with 13 other professions) of New Zealand (Ministry of Health NZ, 2019). This act was implemented in the healthcare sector so that healthcare professionals that do not bear any professional license could be tracked and the risk of safety and security related harm could be eliminated for the benefit of public (Legislation.govt.nz, 2019). Due to implementation of this act, all the professions come under the umbrella of one legislation due to which it is easy to regulate these professions (Ministry of Health NZ, 2019). The primary aim and purpose of this act is to determine that all the healthcare professionals working with governmental registration are complying with the legislations and are implementing safety and security aspects in their care process (Legislation.govt.nz, 2019). However, in this section, it should be clarified that there are many healthcare professionals that do not require the registration under this act, as the risk and harm related to their care processes are minimal (Ministry of Health NZ, 2019). Hence, as per Ministry of Health NZ (2019), if any healthcare profession does not regulated under this act, that does not make the profession illegal.
Scope and function of HPCA (2003) Act
The primary function of this act is to protect the public seeking service from healthcare professionals and ensure that all the healthcare professionals are complying with their professional rights and responsibilities (Ministry of Health NZ, 2019). Hence, the scope and function of this HCPA act is to determine and develop a regulatory and accountability regime for the care professionals registered under this act. Further, the primary scope of this act is to determine that no healthcare professional practices beyond their scope of practice so that they could practice under or within their scope of practice. Hence, it works by restricting the services that are conducted beyond the scope of practice of healthcare professionals (Ministry of Health NZ, 2019).
While addressing the function of this act, the two of three most important power that this possess should be discussed. As per this act, if the regulatory authorities that regulates the healthcare act are unable to identify any illegal action, then they would be questioned for justifications and they would be held accountable for the processes (Ministry of Health NZ, 2019). Further, the healthcare professional’s regulatory authorities would be appointed by the healthcare ministers through direct recruitment due to which, the scope of authenticity and compliance with the care professionals would increase (Ministry of Health NZ, 2019).
Significance of this act with the role of health professionals in Aotearoa/New Zealand
The previous sections mentioned the role of this act to determine that the healthcare professionals registered or regulated under this act could comply with their professional codes and duties (Oliver, Wilson & Malpas, 2017). This makes this act one of the most crucial act that makes the illegal healthcare acts preventable in New Zealand. However, this act also plays a key role in determining the role of healthcare professionals working in the healthcare facilities across the nation (Legislation.govt.nz). As per Ministry of Health NZ (2019), the healthcare regulatory bodies and the healthcare ministry has already developed an effective and amended healthcare roles and responsibilities related competency for the healthcare professionals such as the registered nurse, nurse practitioners, enrolled nursing professional and the nurse assistance. These jobs have different set of responsibilities determined for them and hence, with application of HPCA, it is easier to regulate that all the healthcare professionals belonging to each job role are performing their tasks effectively and complying with their ethical roles and responsibilities (Legislation.govt.nz, 2019). Further, all the healthcare professionals working under their job roles are provided with a practicing certificate for their ability to perform their won roles and responsibilities so that while serving to the people, they could comply with their safety and security aspects (Shannon & McKenzie-Green, 2016). However, this regulation and determination of job roles are implemented in several healthcare professionals in which the risk of harm is present. In job roles related to mental healthcare or physiotherapeutic healthcare acts, are minimal and hence these professionals and job roles are not regulated under the common regulatory act under the HPCA act 2003 (Legislation.govt.nz, 2019).
Comparing and contrasting palliative care with pediatric care
As per The Ministry of Health NZ (2019), palliative care or the end of life care helps the patients who are at the end stage of their life, with dignified and compassionate support and care. This job role aims to provide the patients suffering from end of life sufferings with optimized quality of care so that patients and their physical, mental, psychological and spiritual needs could be addressed within their community base care approach (Ministry of Health NZ, 2019). Further, it also aims to provide the patients and their family with support so that in the time of their loss, they could be consoled and a therapeutic relationship could be developed between the nursing professionals or caregivers and the patients and their families (Legislation.govt.nz, 2019). On the other hand, the pediatric care in New Zealand is based on the value that all the children should be provided with rights related to optimal physical and mental health with social growth (Ministry of Health NZ, 2019). Hence, it promotes and spread awareness about the importance of nutrition for the holistic growth of children across the nation. In this aspect it should be mentioned that the roles and responsibilities of both of these care professionals are different and requires a different set of ethical code of conducts that has been developed so that their professional achievement and responsibilities could be regulated through the use of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (Ministry of Health NZ, 2019).
As per the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003, the code of standard and practice standards should be associated with the job roles and responsibilities of the process (Paediatric Society of New Zealand, 2019). For palliative care, as per the HPCA the professionals require integrity, professionalism, duties towards the patients involved in the care process and their duties towards their employers so that holistic care could be provided to the patients. As per Ministry of Health NZ (2019), these standards determine that all the patients that are involved in the care process should be provided with effective and critical care so that all the misconducted, misrepresentation, objectively, and law related to the knowledge of the ethical codes could be effectively understood. Hence, as per the Paediatric Society of New Zealand (2019), the ethical and practice related codes make this profession applicable for regulation under the laws of HPCA 2003. However, on the other hand, while working with children in New Zealand, the healthcare professionals do not ways involve in the healthcare treatment of the patients but are involved in the care process through awareness, education and training to the parents so that they could conduct the care of their children on their own (Paediatric Society of New Zealand, 2019). Hence, as per Shannon and McKenzie-Green (2016), this profession or specific section of this profession is not involved in the regulation process directly. Therefore, this is the core difference between the job roles of professionals associated with the palliative and pediatric care working in the healthcare facilities of New Zealand.
While concluding the report, it should be mentioned that majority of the healthcare professionals and their job roles are being regulated by the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003. After implementation of this, the care professionals are able to understand that their roles and responsibilities are scrutinized effectively and they do not perform tasks that are beyond their job roles and responsibilities. Hence, this effectively determine the effectiveness of the care process. This report effectively points out the significance and function of this act and with description of two job roles and responsibilities, differentiates the way this act helps in the identification and regulation of risk factors.
- Legislation.govt.nz. (2019). Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 No 48 (as at 12 April 2019), Public Act – New Zealand Legislation. Retrieved 5 August 2019, from http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2003/0048/latest/whole.html#DLM203312
- Legislation.govt.nz. (2019). Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act. Retrieved 5 August 2019, from http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2003/0048/latest/DLM203319.html
- Lovatt, M., Nanton, V., Roberts, J., Ingleton, C., Noble, B., Pitt, E., … & Munday, D. (2015). The provision of emotional labour by health care assistants caring for dying cancer patients in the community: a qualitative study into the experiences of health care assistants and bereaved family carers. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 52(1), 271-279.
- Ministry of Health NZ. (2019). About the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act. Retrieved 5 August 2019, from https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/regulation-health-and-disability-system/health-practitioners-competence-assurance-act/about-health-practitioners-competence-assurance-act
- Ministry of Health NZ. (2019). Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act. Retrieved 5 August 2019, from https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/regulation-health-and-disability-system/health-practitioners-competence-assurance-act
- Ministry of Health NZ. (2019). Palliative care. Retrieved 5 August 2019, from https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/life-stages/palliative-care
- Oliver, P., Wilson, M., & Malpas, P. (2017). New Zealand doctors’ and nurses’ views on legalising assisted dying in New Zealand. NZ Med J, 130(1456), 10-26.
- Paediatric Society of New Zealand. (2019). About Paediatric Society of New Zealand. Retrieved 5 August 2019, from https://www.kidshealth.org.nz/about-paediatric-society-new-zealand
- Shannon, K., & McKenzie-Green, B. (2016). Current role challenges in New Zealand aged residential care: the potential consequences for healthcare assistant role expansion. Contemporary nurse, 52(2-3), 140-151.
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