Since the inception of Mobile Surgical Service (MSS) the company has endeavored to provide efficient and effective rural community health care throughout the country by combining advanced surgical and communication technology with evidence-based practice In order to support this the focus of the last five years strategic approach to education has been through ongoing professional development of those rural health professionals associated with the mobile surgical bus, in particular nursing staff.  Although still committed to supporting those nurses, MSS has now developed a professional development program that is pertinent to the wider rural health workforce.

In 2004 the Health Practitioners Competency Assurance Act (HPCAA) became legislation. The Act was introduced to provide consistent accountability across the health professions; with its principle purposes being to protect the health and safety of members of the public by providing mechanisms to ensure that health practitioners are competent and fit to practices. Consequently this Act requires health practitioners to ensure that they continually update and improve their clinical skills.

In 1999 the Ministry of Health highlighted that ongoing education of rural health professionals has been an issue for many years (MoH 1999).  Eight years later, with the additional requirements of the HPCAA, providing professional development and clinical training for rural health care professionals is a growing problem in New Zealand.  MSS’s Rural Health Professional Development Program (RHPDP) is being developed, therefore, to enable rural health practitioners to comply with the requirement of the act and support them in maintaining their individual professional competencies. How individual health practitioners complete their professional development is specified by their specific organising bodies.