Council policies, procedures and timing

Online applications

Applications for a midwifery practising certificate are made online.  Midwives must be logged into their account before they can see the option to apply.  When logged in the option will be available under the top menu items Registered Midwives then Apply for Practising Certificate.

Assessment of suitability for the issuing of a practising certificate

The Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act requires Council to satisfy itself that midwives are competent and fit to practise before issuing a practising certificate.

When an application for a practising certificate is made the Council will check for:
1. The Declarations made in support of the practising certificate application
2. Any overdue recertification programme items
3. Any issues identified during the audit of a midwife’s portfolio
4. Any competence, health, or discipline issues that have been drawn to Council’s attention
5. The recency of practice in the different parts of the midwifery scope
6. Any other matter that Council has flagged for consideration
7. Payment of the applicable practising certificate fee.

Declarations

All midwives must make certain declarations in support of their application for a practising certificate.  These declarations are related to requirements set down in the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act (s26, s27).  Midwives must read each declaration in the application form carefully. It is important that the midwife ticks every declaration that applies and does not tick any declaration that does not apply.  Any false declarations will be taken very seriously by the Council.

Recertification Programme Requirements

If there are any overdue Recertification Programme requirements at the time a midwife applies for a practising certificate, the midwife may be granted a short term interim practising certificate to enable them to complete these requirements.  If the outstanding items are not completed within the time frame allowed by the Council the interim practising certificate will expire and the midwife will not be able to practice after that date.

The Council requires course providers to provide records of course participants on a timely basis.  Sometimes these records are not received or arrive late.  All midwives can check online to see the records the Council holds for their compulsory Recertification Programme courses.  This check will show when each course is next due and will highlight any overdue requirements.  If a midwife has completed a course but the online check shows it as incomplete or overdue, they should send a copy of the course certificate to the Council by post, facsimile, or attached to an email. The Council strongly urges all midwives to check their record on a regular basis and well before they wish to apply for a practising certificate.  The midwife must log in to their account before this option will be visible.  When logged in the option can be found under the top menu items Registered Midwives then Check Practising Certificate Requirements.

Note – The Council computer systems are not currently able to fully allow for periods out of practice.  The due dates shown for Recertification Programme items may not be accurate in these situations.  Midwives who have taken time out of practice should contact the Council to discuss adjustment of the Recertification Programme due dates.  The Council will take this into consideration when deciding on the application.  If necessary it will contact the midwife for clarification.

Note – The facility to check the Council record of Recertification Programme courses should not be used as a substitute for a properly completed Recertification Programme Planner.

Timing

All applications must be approved by the Council.  Where there are no issues for Council consideration, the process is quick and applications will usually be processed within a few days.  Where applications must be considered by the Council it will apply its best endeavours to process the applications in a timely manner.  The time taken will depend on the nature of the issues to be considered, the volume of applications on hand, and the staff resources available.  

Applications will not be processed on public holidays or while the Council office is closed over the Christmas/New Year break.

Practising certificate cards are ordered from an external printing company and the time taken depends on when the application was granted, when the next card order is made, the printing company's production schedules, and time in the post.  Delivery typically can take up to ten working days after the application has been granted but this period can vary.

Midwives applying during the year should allow at least two weeks before planning to work.  A longer period should be allowed if Check Practising Certificate Requirements indicates that there are overdue recertification requirements, or if the midwife is aware of other matters the Council will most likely want to consider.  The midwife must confirm that the application has been granted before starting work.  This can be checked online using the Register Search facility at this Internet site.

Midwives applying for the next practising year should complete their application by the first week in March.  It is possible the practising certificate card will not be received by the start of the new year for orders made after that date.  If applications (including payment of the fee) are made in late March there is some risk the application will not be processed by the start of the new year.

If a midwife is returning to work in New Zealand after a period not practising they may be covered by either the Council's Return to Practice Policy, or Return to New Zealand After Practising Overseas Policy.  Supporting documentation will be required to confirm the recency of the midwife's clinical practice in the different parts of the scope, and their continuing fitness for practice.  These process's can take some time.  Midwives in these situations should familiarise themselves with the policies that apply in their situation and contact the Council at an early time.

Fees

The Council reviews its fees structure every year.

The annual practising certificate fee includes a disciplinary levy which is calculated and reported on separately by the Council.  The substantive component of the annual practising certificate fee funds the normal activities of the Council and reduces each quarter of the practising year.  The disciplinary levy component of the fee funds Council disciplinary functions.  It is currently set at $50.  This component of the fee does not reduce during the year.  Persons applying for a practising certificate will be shown the combined amount.

Evidence of Practising Status

The authority to practise as a midwife is an entry in the Register of Midwives.  The Council does supply a plastic practising certificate card which is a convenient form of evidence that midwives can carry with them.  However, the Council does not guarantee validity of the card past the date that it was ordered.  If a midwife's practising status is important, the Council recommends that this be checked using the online Register Search at this Internet site.  This accesses the Register directly and is always correct as at the time of the search.  If an employer requires to sight the card this is a matter between the employer and the midwife.

Cards and receipts are processed by the Council IT systems.  There is no alternative mechanism to speed up this process and urgent processing cannot be made.

Interim Practising Certificates

Interim practising certificates for a period of less than one year are usually issued where the Council requires the midwife to complete a requirement within a time frame less than a normal practising year or where the Council wishes to reserve the right to withdraw the practising certificate if certain conditions are not met.  

Interim practising certificates may be issued to midwives undertaking a return to practice programme. Interim practising certificates are also issued to midwives who are required to undertake components of the Recertification Programme within a particular time frame in order to assure the Council of their competence.

An interim practising certificate will show any conditions applying to the midwife's practice on the reverse side.