Applying for a practising certificate: 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.

Midwives who do not hold a current practising certificate

Midwives who do not hold a current practising certificate can apply for a practising certificate for the current year at any time.  The fee payable reduces each quarter and is calculated at the time the application is made.  Generally it is not possible to apply in advance for a future quarter but see applications for next year in the paragraph below.

The option to apply for a practising certificate for the next practising year (starting 1 April) will be available about January/February each year.  Midwives without a current practising certificate can apply in advance in this situation but will not be able to start practise until 1 April.

Any midwife who has not practised midwifery for three years or more must make a ‘return to practice’ application.  It does not matter if she held an annual practising certificate in the last three years.  The Council return to practice policies and procedures can be found on this page.  Please contact the Council for further instruction.  When applying online take care NOT to tick the declaration that you have practised in the last three years.

Midwives who do hold a current practising certificate

Midwives who hold a practising certificate for the current year and who wish to practise in the first quarter of the next year (starting 1 April), must apply to renew their practising certificate during January/February/March, before their current APC expires.  Renewals for the next year are not available before then and must be completed before 1 April.  Midwives who wish to practise in the next year, but not until after the first quarter (i.e. not before 1 July), can apply later in the next year and will pay a reduced fee.  The late fee (below) is not payable in this situation.

Any midwife who has not renewed their practising certificate by 31 March must cease practise on that date.  Practising without a current certificate is a serious offence, prosecutable by the Ministry of Health, and carrying substantial fines.  Midwives practising illegally without a practising certificate will have no indemnity insurance, will not be able to claim maternity fees under Section 88, and their clients will not be covered by ACC if there is an adverse event.  The Council also take a dim view of such practice and in the past has undertaken disciplinary procedures in these situations.

Late renewal fee

Any midwife who holds a practising certificate in one year and wishes to practise at any time in the first quarter of the following year must complete her/his application to renew by 31 March.  Failure to renew before 31 March will mean that an additional late fee of $200 is payable.

Assessment of suitability for the grant 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 declarations 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 Zealannd after a period not practising her they may be covered by the Council Return to Practice Policy, or the Council 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 fittness for practice.  These prcess's can take some time.  Midwives in these situation should familiarise themsleves with the policies that apply in their situation and contact the Council at an ealy 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.

The fees were amended on 8 February 2018.  The current fees are:
1 April to 31 March (full year fee) - $445.00
1 July to 31 March (¾ year fee ) - $346.25
1 October to 31 March (½ year fee) - $247.50
1 January to 31 March (¼ year fee) - $148.75

All fees include a disciplinary levy of $50 and GST.

Additional fee for overseas midwives first annual practising certificate

Internationally qualified educated midwives are required to pay a process and monitoring fee of $150 with their first practising certificate application.  This is in addition to the normal annual practising certificate fee but the combined amount will be shown to the applicant.  This fee covers the administrative requirements relating to the monitoring of the conditions on their scope of practice (overseas competence programme) and the reissue of the practising certificate cards as required as courses are completed.  It is a one-off fee and will not apply for subsequent practising certificates.

Reduced fee for New Graduates

New graduates pay a reduced fee.  This is partly because the normal work needed to assess their suitability for an annual practising certificate is not necessary as this is inherent in the registration process they have just completed. It is also partly in recognition of their likely reduced financial status after three years study and their limited earning capacity as they start their practice.

New graduates registered after the December National Midwifery Exam:
Fee for remainder of year to next 31 March - $100
Fee for first full year after registration - $250
Normal fee after that

New graduates registered after March National Midwifery Exam:
Full year fee for first year of registration - $250
Normal fee after that

New graduates registered after July National Midwifery Exam:
¾ year fee for first year of registration - $200
Normal fee after that

Late fee

$200.  See above.

Payment

Payment of the application fee can be completed online as part of the application process if paying by credit card.  If another payment method is selected during the application, the application will be held and will not be considered until the payment is received.  Where payment is being made by the midwife, it should be completed at the time of the application or within a day or two.  There is no Pay Later option.  If payment cannot be made within this time frame, the application should not be made until funding is available.  Where payment is being made by DHBs or other employers, they may make arrangements with Council.

If someone else will be paying the application fee, the midwife should take care that the other person has agreed to this and they understand the time frame required.  The midwife should check that the payment is made.  The Council cannot assist if the payment is not received.  That is a matter between the midwife and the payer.

If an application including payment is not received by 31 March the midwife must cease practice from that date.

A confirmation of the application is displayed at the end of the application process and should be printed.  A copy is also sent by email.  This includes details of the fee and the payment method.

Bank Account

If paying by Direct Credit, the Midwifery Council bank account number is 030502-0399402-00.  Please reference with Surname and Registration number.  The Council recommends caution if paying by smart phone.  Sometime these payments have been received with no reference information.

Receipt for fees paid

Annual practising certificate cards are delivered to the midwife's address recorded in the Register attached to a receipt for the fee paid.

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.