One-Tier System

donate-nowUnited Profession – Equality of Practitioner – Freedom of Treatment

The Reform APS (RAPS) group represents a group of APS members concerned over the inequities faced by the majority of psychologists currently practicing in the field of mental health within Australia whereby a disparity in remuneration and scope of practice boundaries has become deeply embedded between two specific groups of psychologists.

RAPS brings particular attention to the two-tier Medicare rebate system as a key development in this growing disparity due to it facilitating the advancement of a small sub group of psychologists endorsed as clinical to the detriment of all other expert psychologists registered to practice in Australia.

Since the Two-Tier system was introduced 10 years ago, there has been no evidence to show that clinical psychologists achieve better outcomes than registered psychologists.

In order to redress such disparity RAPS advocates for a change in the constitution of the national board of the APS to ensure:

  1. a balanced representation of all psychologists is upheld on the APS Board to ensure minority faction groups cannot take control;
  2. equity in the advocacy for all psychologists that does not disadvantage one member over another
  3. unambiguously clear strategies to shift the two-tier Medicare rebate system to a single tier for all psychologists practicing successfully in the field of mental health assessment, diagnosis and treatment. 

RAPS is concerned that these embedded disparities of remuneration and practice scope seriously undermines the confidence of the public and referring authorities in the competence of non-clinical psychologists while compromising the ethical responsibility of all psychologists to choose appropriate treatment modalities for their clients.

RAPS considers the two-tier Medicare rebate system an unfortunate development that inappropriately favours clinical psychologists at significant expense to public funds, in the absence of evidence to justify this inequity and in the face of decades of contrary research that that clearly suggests that all psychologists treating mental health concerns offer equivalence in practice outcomes thus confirming the lack of justification for such disparity in remuneration between different psychology groups.

It is troubling to note that psychologists who have openly opposed such disparity express concerns over being intimidated and threatened with potentially career-threatening retaliation.

It has come to RAPS attention that many hundreds of members have resigned from the APS communicating despair at the lack of effective remedy from successive boards in their advocacy for a succinct redress of these embedded inequities. RAPS is also alarmed by the small number of participants in the society’s elections indicating the ennui and hopelessness pervading the society.

These disparities currently embedded in our profession place the future of the APS at risk.

RAPS members believe that urgent action is required to ensure the APS is properly represent by all its members to ensure it has a clear voice for psychology in the mental health debate.

Ultimately RAPS is about informing, engaging and inspiring the membership to participate in the revitalisation of the APS. We must provide leadership that re-kindles pride in belonging to an organisation that acts out of integrity and a sense of fairness … an organisation devoted to the professional and public good ensuring an equitable and united system of mental health care is established.

The need is urgent.

RAPS is concerned  that the APS will ultimately become controlled by the clinical faction of the APS due to the embedded disparities that continue to undermine the strength of representation across all other APS member groups. It has devised what amounts to a Trojan horse – a carefully constructed undemocratic governance review that if approved, will end the power of members to directly elect their representatives.

Time is running out for APS members. They will be asked to vote for this governance review in March. Their assent will doom the APS to becoming for all time a mere facade for the College of Clinical Psychologists and their backers.

Under the guise of administrative efficiency, this so-called improvement in our Constitution will have serious consequences for the practice of psychology in this country. It will deliver the profession into the permanent control of those who support the medical model of mental health – completely out of step with their colleagues in Britain, the US and Europe.

RAPS members include many clinical psychologists who are equally opposed to the view that clinical psychologists are superior to all their colleagues, should control their colleagues’ professional practices and be rewarded more highly.

RAPS organisers include Jenny Corran, counselling psychologist, Dr. Sophie Bibrowska, general psychologist, and Dr. Clive Jones, counselling psychologist, sport & exercise psychologist and Assist. Prof. Bond University.

We appreciate the many responses that we’ve had from interested people, and we will be communicating regularly though this website, giving you updates on what’s happening. Please read our material on the website, and post comments as much as you can.

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