The health workforce pressures we are experiencing in Aotearoa New Zealand are reflective of pressures being experienced globally. We are fortunate to have a number of flexible pathways to registration in the Act, allowing oral health practitioners who have qualified in countries that the Council has determined comparable to New Zealand, to gain registration within a similar timeframe to a New Zealand qualified practitioner.
In addition, there is an individual assessment pathway, for applicants from countries that are not determined comparable (therefore not gazetted prescribed qualifications), which does take longer (usually six months) because each application must be considered on its own merits, taking into account the applicant’s qualifications, training and experience.
Applicants from overseas can also choose an examination pathway (this can take up to 12 months or more to complete). However, in recent years there has been a trend for overseas applicants to follow the individual assessment pathway - whilst volumes are increasing, it is not yet back to pre-COVID levels.
We are liaising with our colleagues at Te Whatu Ora, Te Aka Whai Ora and Manatū Hauora Ministry of Health about how we can support the workforce issues, and more broadly the health reforms.
We recognise that it has never been more important for us to be an agile and innovative regulator, while at the same time, carrying out our core responsibilities to protect public safety.