United Profession – Freedom of Practice – Equity for the Public
The profession faces the gravest crisis in its history, engineered by a prolonged and short-sighted campaign to advance the interests of clinical psychologists over those of all their colleagues.
In the pursuit of financial and professional advantage, this campaign has resulted in the two-tier Medicare rebate system under the Better Access scheme.
This campaign is the root of the two-tier Medicare rebate system under the Better Access scheme, which grossly favours clinical psychologists, despite the conspicuous absence of any evidence to justify this inequity. The latest research and post hoc analyses show that there is no difference between the treatment outcomes of clinical and registered psychologists.
The continuing entrenchment of this completely unwarranted financial and professional advantage for a single minority faction has had a profoundly negative impact on the profession and on Australia’s mental health clients.
The collateral effects have been far-reaching. They include:
- A catastrophic realignment of academic courses which has produced a virtual monoculture of clinical graduates
- The admission of bureaucratic control over the professional sanctity of the consulting room which has favoured CBT over other evidence-based techniques.
- The abdication of APS influence in the mental health debate to psychiatrists and organisations including Beyond Blue and Headspace.
- The public denigration of highly skilled and experienced non-clinical psychologists as “the worst-educated in the Western World” by the current president of the society which represents them.
- Continuing promotion to legislators, bureaucrats and referring authorities of the false proposition that clinical psychologists are superior to all other psychologists and that they should command professional debate and receive higher rewards.
- Delivery of exclusive rights to preparing reports and assessments to clinical psychologists, ending decades of tradition and practice.
- Consistent intimidation of opponents of the clinical faction with threats of potentially career-threatening retaliation.
- Perpetuation of control by the clinical faction on the board
If we do not demand change, there is a danger that the APS will continue to primarily represent the interests of clinical psychologists and those who support them to the detriment of non-clinical psychologists.
Together we represent 70% of the members. It’s time we all spoke up.
We consider that the current board is either unable or unwilling to address our concerns about the unfairness brought about by the two-tier system. This is not just about Medicare rebates. It is about standing up for the rights and responsibilities of psychologists to use their professional judgment, rather than having to conform to the limitations of focused psychological strategies. It is about protecting our clients from the medicalisation of the profession.
We ask that all endorsed psychologists – including clinical psychologists of principle, many of whom already support us – to stand together with the generalists. A truly representative board will be able to speak on behalf of the entire profession, rather than a single interest group.
It will find a fairer solution to the current two-tier system that recognises all members’ competencies, clinical experience and judgement. We are the majority of members!
A representative board will also advocate for all its members to be on a single tier system of Medicare rebates. We consider that the current APS board has failed to advocate appropriately for non-clinical psychologists. RAPS has real concerns that these members’ interests will not be looked after by the current board at the next Medicare review in November.
Freedom of Information documents on the APS submissions to the Department of Health and Ageing show that the APS only ever advocated for a single Medicare rebate exclusively for psychologists eligible for membership of the APS College of Clinical Psychologists.
It was the government, not our organisation, who insisted on a rebate for non-clinical psychologists. The APS leadership has had more than 10 years to restore fairness but little has been done. We have been waiting for changes for ten years. The time for waiting is over. It is up to members now to act.
Join us. Together we have a chance to be heard – or in future you may belong to the ACPS – the Australian Clinical Psychology Society – not the APS.
How can I help? Contact Us!
Reform APS (RAPS) is dedicated to achieving genuine unity for the Australian Psychological Society and to advance the practice of psychology and the treatment of mental health conditions in Australia. Our aim is to reach a point of equality between clinical and non-clinical psychologists in the Society.