CPD Frequently asked questions:
Do I have to become enrolled in a CPD programme?
- Yes, as a registered scientist or technician you are required to participate in any one of the three CPD programmes that have been approved by the Medical Sciences Council of New Zealand.
Why has this step been introduced?
- The HPCA Act 2003 requires all health professionals to demonstrate competence in the practice of their profession. The Act was introduced to provide greater public protection against the actions of incompetent health professionals.
What other competency/re-certification programmes are available?
- The NZIMLS CPD programme is one of only three programmes approved by the Medical Sciences Council of New Zealand. For more information visit www.mscouncil.org.nz
Is the CPD programme available for Medical Laboratory Technicians?
- The NZIMLS offers a CPD programme for Technicians. The annual APC application with the Medical Sciences Council requires technicians to undertake a minimum of 8 hours (16 points) of professional development annually in order to obtain an APC.
How do I enrol?
- Complete the appropriate CPD enrolment form and forward it to the NZIMLS along with the programme fee.
How many points do I have to achieve?
- Scientists need to accumulate 300 points over a set three-year period. A minimum of 85 points per year is required during that period.
- Technicians must accumulate 8 hours (16 points) per annum.
Do I have to enrol each year?
- No - provided you remain employed in a diagnostic laboratory and remain financial by paying the annual programme fee, you will not have to re-enrol.
What happens to my points if I change my place of employment?
- Your CPD points total will transfer with you, however please ensure that you update your employment details with the NZIMLS.
How can I get my points if I am a part-timer or shift-worker?
- The same points per year applies to both full and part-time staff employed as scientists. Each person must undergo an annual peer review of their laboratory competencies irrespective of the hours worked. This exercise is worth 60 points and the remaining 40 points may be gained from attendance at seminars, journal clubs, SIG meetings, or through one of the other options outlined in the Scientist's CPD programme booklet. Please refer to the CPD programme for Technicians booklet for more details on what is required for Technicians.
How can I ensure that I have the opportunities to earn the necessary points in the programme?
- If this is a concern for you, talk things over with your lab supervisor/manager. The best approach is to consider this a venture that requires input from both yourself and your employer.
How do I keep a record of the points I have accrued throughout the year?
- Once enrolled in the programme you can access your CPD record at www.nzimls.org.nz. Log in, then follow the instructions to manage your CPD record, alter your details or print CPD activity certificates as required.
What is my Password?
- Your password is the four digit number that was provided to you when you enrolled in the CPD programme. This together with your email address is required for you to access your CPD records. If you have forgotten your password use the 'forgot password' link or contact the NZIMLS.
Why do I need to provide an email address?
- This is required for you to log in to enter CPD points. Your email address is confidential to the NZIMLS and is used to provide you with information about upcoming scientific meetings in your area and correspond with you over other matters of professional interest to its Members. NZIMLS does not supply your email address to any third party.
Is there a booklet about the CPD programme?
How will the annual audit process work and will I be audited?
- Approximately 10% of all participants will be audited annually. This will occur at the end of each year and if selected you will be required to provide documentation to support your CPD points record. Failure to cooperate with the auditors or failure to provide adequate evidence to support your claimed CPD total could result in the MSC refusing to issue you an Annual Practising Certificate (APC) for the upcoming year. The CPD booklet states the minimum requirements of the audit process for both Scientists & Technicians.
When do I need to load my points by?
- You may load points for the current year (1 January to 31 December) up until midnight on 31 January the following that year. After that (i.e. from 1 February), you will need to contact the CPD Coordinator to have your points entered for you. There is a fee of $50.00 for this service, and you will be invoiced accordingly.
Are all scientific meetings approved for CPD points?
- Most NZ scientific meetings are approved as CPD meetings. This process relies upon organisers seeking CPD approval for their meetings from the NZIMLS before the meeting. Where a meeting has been approved, the NZIMLS provides the Conference/Seminar organisers with a meeting code for inclusion on certificates of attendance issued to those present at the meeting. Notes or a report must also be kept as part of the audit process.
If I attend a meeting that has not been pre-approved as a CPD event, can I still claim CPD points?
- If the meeting has relevance to your area of work, then points may be claimed. The claim allowed under these circumstances is 2 points per hour which is pro-rata to the length of time of the meeting. The maximum daily claim for attendance at a conference or seminar is 8 hours (16 points). Check the CPD Booklet for documentation that is to be kept.
I have recently attended a course on occupational safety and health in the laboratory. Can I claim CPD points for this?
- CPD points for courses such as OSH, people management (e.g. train the trainer), dangerous goods handling, assertiveness training, etc. are not specified in the CPD programme booklets. Whilst these may improve "people management" or "laboratory safety skills", they should not detract from the prime goal of attaining 40 CPD points per year, for MLS related activities. Claim 2 points per course (max. 10 points per year), with claims made under the "Other" section of the programme. This does not include Health and Safety meetings, First Aid Training, Fire Training or Hand washing/Hygiene sessions, which are all part of your compulsory competence requirements.
I am a laboratory or section manager within a laboratory. Do I need to join the CPD programme?
- If you practice the profession or perform tasks that are classified as medical laboratory science, then you must hold an APC. If you answer yes to any of these then you are required to participate in a competency and professional development programme.
Can / should I claim more (or less) than 60 points for category 1 of the CPD programme?
- This is a compulsory section in the Scientist CPD programme. The maximum (and minimum) points claimed under this section in any year is 60. In the audit process it was brought to our notice that some were confused about this section. Some practitioners claimed no points, some less than 60 and even some more than 60. Irrespective of the hours you work and the number of departments of the lab you work in, the maximum allowable claim per year is 60 points, and you are either competent or not.
What happens to my CPD points requirement if I am on maternity leave?
- You should inform the Medical Sciences Council that you will be off work for part all of the year and apply for an exemption next time you apply for an APC. You also need to advise the NZIMLS.
Do I need CPD points for the part-year in which I will be away on maternity leave?
- This depends on timing, but if you work any part of a year for which you will require an APC then you will be required to have a minimum of 60 points for your Laboratory Competency. In addition, you should also accumulate points for professional development for the part of the year in which you were working.
Do I get CPD points for the provision of student training?
- The supervision/teaching/training of either BMLSc students or staff training toward Technician qualifications, does not qualify trainers for CPD points. This is because this activity is not considered professional development or ongoing learning for yourself, as you are passing on information you use as part of your day-to-day job. For this you receive 60 points per annum i.e., annual competency. Person(s) receiving training (e.g. someone working towards a QMLT) may be eligible to claim CPD points if they are required to collect professional development points for their APC. However, you may claim 2 points under Section 17 if you are the primary supervisor of a fourth year BMLSc student in your laboratory.