A competence review focuses on assisting the practitioner to improve their standard of practise. It is not a disciplinary process; the review is designed to be fair, constructive, supportive and educative.
Under the Act, all of the following situations may alert the Council to consider whether a medical laboratory science or anaesthetic technology practitioner should undergo a competence review:
- A health practitioner notifies the Council that they have reason to believe that a medical laboratory science practitioner or anaesthetic technician may pose a risk of harm to the public by practising below the required standard of competence (s34);
- The Health and Disability Commissioner or Director of Proceedings notifies the Council that they have reason to believe a medical laboratory science practitioner or anaesthetic technician may pose a risk of harm to the public by practising below the required standard of competence (s34);
- An employer notifies the Council that an employee has resigned or been dismissed for reasons relating to competence (s34);
- A Professional Conduct Committee makes a recommendation under s80(2)(a) or s79(b) insofar as that recommendation relates to competence (s36);
- The Council has the discretion to review the practice of a medical laboratory science practitioner or anaesthetic technician at any time whether there is cause for concern or a notice has been received (s36)
Competence review queries are to be directed to the Registrar.
The Professional Standards Committee can refer a competence matter to a Council-appointed Competence Review Panel (the Panel).
What happens if the Council decides I need to undergo a competence review?
The Council may appoint the Panel which has a maximum of three members. Members of the Panel are registered medical laboratory science or anaesthetic technology practitioners who hold current APCs and have experience in performance and educational assessments.
From time to time, depending on the circumstances, a layperson of the Council may be co-opted onto the Panel.
The Panel is provided with written terms of reference that details:
- why the competence review is to be undertaken,
- the particular areas of concern on which the review is to focus (unless there are indicators of a general competence problem); and
- the activities that should be carried out (as a minimum) to assess your competence; and reporting requirements back to the Council.
A copy of these terms of reference would also be provided to you. The Panel is only able to investigate within the framework of the terms of reference.
The competence review may include an on-site assessment to observe you in your practice site to ensure that your practice is carried out at a competent level. Your practice is assessed against the Council’s competencies required for the practice of medical laboratory science or anaesthetic technology.
You may be required to meet and discuss the circumstances surrounding the competence review with the Panel. The Panel will discuss their findings and provide you with an opportunity to respond.
You will always have the right to have a support person present.
Within 21 days of completing the competence review, the Panel reports to the Council whether you have met the required standard of competence, professional guidelines, and legislative requirements.
Should the Panel determine you do not meet the required standard, it specifies the area(s) it considers you are deficient. The Panel will suggest how the deficiency/deficiencies might be overcome, indicating whether you have acknowledged the deficiency.
All notes and other documentation generated by the Panel during the review are returned to the Council for secure storage or destruction.
Should the Council decide you have failed to meet the required standard of competence it must make one of the following orders:
- You undertake a competency-based programme (section 40 );
- One or more conditions be included in your scope of practice;
- You undertake an examination or assessment;
- You must work under supervision (section 38).