You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
The Medical Council has begun consultation over a plan to introduce a peer review system for doctors.
The reviews would involve doctors periodically reviewing peers within their speciality by way of watching consultations, examining records and interviewing practitioners' colleagues.
Health and Disability Commissioner Ron Paterson was supportive of the initiative and said it would detect any inadequacies before they caused a problem.
He told Radio New Zealand that it was a sensible approach and few doctors were likely to be found to have problems needing referral to the council.
"The council is responsible. It is the body that is saying to the New Zealand public 'yes, this doctor has a warrant of fitness', and I think at the moment we have a tougher warrant of fitness system for our cars than we do for our doctors."
Mr Paterson said most doctors would welcome such an initiative, which would detect any potential inadequacies before problems arose.
Council chairman John Campbell said while doctors were already required to meet stringent practising standards, there was room for improvement.
The council said the peer review plan had been on the cards for a while and that it was carrying out consultation with doctors' groups on the issue.