Will the APS really listen to members?

The Executive Director has assured us in APS Matters that in the next few weeks APS members will have a chance to have their say on the two-tier system and Better Access.

RAPS wants to know why this hasn’t happened during the 10 years since Better Access started? Why hasn’t the APS board asked for members’ views before?

What has been the official APS position on the two-tier system up to now? What proposals, submissions and advice have been provided from the peak body in psychology to Government over the past 10 years?

We know the Clinical College supports the two-tier system and 10% of its members have threatened to leave the APS if the board doesn’t support the two-tier system.

It’s an old saying in the legal fraternity that you never ask someone a question if you don’t know for sure what the answer will be. Call us paranoid, but we can’t help but wonder if the APS thinks it already knows what answer it’s going to get. Has something changed?

We have heard that the Colleges have been seduced into accepting the two-tier system with promises of their members being upgraded to the top tier. Unfortunately, these assurances have been offered before and snatched away before. History isn’t on their side.

The current offer, as we understand it, is for the other colleges to become sub-specialities of the Clinical College. Clinical Sport? Clinical Neuro? Clinical Counselling?

We can only wonder what compromises might be involved in these deals. Will the other colleges have to swear allegiance to the medical model? Will they be able to retain their unique competencies or will they have to be under the thumb of the clinical competencies?

And how certain are they of the delivery of such promises, with the government so cash-strapped?

We know the colleges are worried about the exposure that RAPS is providing for members. They are forcing members to sign a Code of Conduct to stop them participating. They are calling it a conflict of interests for members to speak out about the discrimination against non-clinical members.

In a democracy  people have a right to speak out against any issues they disagree with. In the APS it’s categorised as a conflict of interests. When did a difference of opinion become a conflict of interests?

The latter only arises when you make a decision while having a material interest in the outcome. Let’s see now … who might that apply to?





2 thoughts on “Will the APS really listen to members?

  1. Professor Littlefield as Responder to the STANDING COMMITTEE ON COMMUNITY AFFAIRS, Mental health services in Australia, 10-08-2007 p.4 (http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au):

    Prof. Littlefield: I also congratulate the government for putting this level of commitment of funding into mental health. I think what has happened to date with the better access uptake of items has shown the incredible need that was there.

    Senator MOORE: And you were right, Professor.

    Prof. Littlefield: The high demand for those items is clearly illustrated in the statistics. One thing that is very pleasing is that there are over 16,000 GP’s who are taking up the items and referring on to psychologists, which is far more than ever in the past, when Better Outcomes had got to about 4,000, so 16,000
    is a great improvement.

    Obviously, along with other speakers, we would like to see an evaluation of the initiative and what the outcomes are. To this end we did a survey in the last two weeks of all the clinical psychologists who are registered under Medicare. We process their applications, so we are able to have access to them, and to about half of the registered psychologists. We have got over 1,200 responses already, so we have had an enormous response. It shows that there are more psychologists working under Medicare in rural areas than we imagined. It is turning out from that sample that 24 per cent of all psychologists are working outside the metropolitan areas.

    The other figure that was of interest is that 66 per cent of clinical psychologists are bulk billing. That does not mean they are bulk billing for their whole practice but for people who have a financial need. Those figures are more promising than we thought. However, I still say that more needs to be done in both of those areas. In rural areas, we need to look at how to get more of the workforce out there and how to increase bulk-billing even further. We have some ideas about how to do both…

  2. Cut and shut manoeuvre by APS towards RAPS????…’Scurrilous’ RAPS and worst educated in the western world, oh…and some cock roach reference I seem to recall reading and now insisting certain members sign a code of conduct in order to be silenced, citing conflict of interests…analogous to their NON EXISTENT scientific literature by clinicals to support their attitude of supremacy …this is more and more farcical…just in keeping with an extremely ill conceived Clinical monopolization of the Psychology profession.
    ‘Have a chance to have their say’….sadly this is not the beginning of a meaningful process but rather, it will be yet again, the beginning and the end of a token gesture to assuage us just one more time….My name’s Billy not silly.

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