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Recertification (continuing professional development requirements)

The principal purpose of the HPCA Act 2003 is to protect the health and safety of members of the public and provide the Pharmacy Council with mechanisms to ensure that pharmacists are competent and fit to practise. Setting recertification programmes is one mechanism through which the Pharmacy Council can do this on an ongoing basis.

Recertification programme

The Pharmacy Council supports maintenance of competence through activities that embody the philosophy of lifelong learning.  Council's recertification framework sets out continuing professional development requirements that form part of pharmacists' annual recertification requirements. You must be enrolled in a Council-approved recertification programme to meet these requirements.  Currently one programme is approved, ENHANCE 2.0, which is provided by the Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand

Summary of recertification requirements

All practising pharmacists must be enrolled in a recertification programme, complete 20 points per year and 70 points per three year learning cycle. At least 10 points per three years must come from completing two significant learning goals (group 3). Each step of the learning cycle (reflection, planning, action and outcome) must be discussed with a learning peer. The annual and three yearly requirements follow the Annual Practising Certificate (APC) year i.e. 1 April to 31 March.

Minimum hours of practice (from 2017)

From 2017, the Council will not automatically issue an unconditional practising certificate to pharmacists who have practised fewer than 450 hours in the preceding three years of practice - see more here.

Recently registered or recently returned to the register?

If you have recently registered or returned to practice as a pharmacist, you will need to enrol in the ENHANCE recertification programme as soon as possible. It is a professional obligation to remain competent to practise, and pharmacists that are newly registered or have recently returned to practise may need to complete more professional development than pharmacists established in their practice. Completed learning activities that are over and above the requirements Council sets to attain registration or return to practice, may count towards the recertification requirements.

Intern pharmacists who register as pharmacists in December need to be enrolled in the ENHANCE recertification programme before the following April, and then meet the annual recertification requirements during the ensuing 12 months. Those registering as pharmacists in June must complete 10 points by the following April.

Other pharmacists registering or returning to practice after April must at least complete pro-rata points. The three year learning cycle should start from the following April.

Recertification declaration

Each year when they renew their annual practising certificate, pharmacists must confirm whether they have completed the recertification requirements. Council may set further conditions for pharmacists who have not met these requirements.

Up to 20% of pharmacists on the practising register will be selected for a recertification audit. Pharmacists whose applications are received before the 31 March, are deemed to hold an APC until their application is processed or they are advised otherwise. Late applications will automatically be audited, and in this case, pharmacists must not practise until their APC is issued. A pharmacist who has made a false or misleading recertification declaration may have their APC declined.

A small number of pharmacists selected for audit will be asked to provide further information regarding their professional development activities. This information will be used to assess the quality of participation against specific criteria, identify areas for improvement, set future targets for the programme provider and identify any new recertification requirements for individual pharmacists.

Non-compliance with the recertification requirements

Pharmacists who are not meeting the requirements of recertification may have a condition placed on their annual practising certificate that requires them to practise under the supervision of another pharmacist until they meet the requirements. The condition is recorded on the Register and is publicly available. Until the condition is lifted, the pharmacist cannot undertake the following roles:
  • Preceptor
  • Pharmacy Councillor (including Committee members)
  • Competence Reviewer or Practice Counsellor
  • Assessor (intern, law and ethics interviewer or other appointed assessor).

Recertification Policy

The Recertification Policy is available here.

If you have any questions, please contact the Recertification Team.