Australian Association of Psychologists inc Policy Statement
(AAPi) is a not-for-profit Peak Professional Organization for psychologists.
Our primary mission is to lobby for equitable access for the Australian public to professional psychological services funded under the current Medicare rebatable Better Access Scheme.
This will be achieved by eliminating the two-tiered Medicare rebate structure, in favour of one tier.
The two-tiered system was introduced by a well intended Howard government that sought the advice of the APS.
The APS ill-advised the government that psychologists could be distinguished by their membership of APS colleges, which until that time was correctly viewed as interest groups.
The APS only ever advocated for the inclusion of their ï¿½clinicalï¿½ psychologists in the Better Access scheme, and suggested this to the government.
In the recent Senate Inquiry into psychology, the APS continued to advocate for the two-tiered system which has ripped psychology apart. The bulk of the APS membership have been disadvantaged and disenfranchised by this false dichotomy.
Further, there is simply no evidence in support of this pay and status differential.
The 2011 Better Access program review clearly demonstrated that there is no difference in outcomes for clients of "generalist" psychologists when compared with clients of "clinical" psychologists. (in fact, the clients of "generalistsï" fared better in terms of outcomes on most measures, however no figures of statistical significance were presented).
The AAPi believe that in the absence of any data supporting such a differential between psychologists, there is no justification for a pay or status differential. Honest clinical psychologists agree, as can be seen in some of the comments provided to the Senate Inquiry.
We reject the arbitrary notion of PBA endorsement in specialist areas, and seek its discontinuation. Psychology is the speciality, and historically, competent psychologists have been able to work across the various areas of applied psychology. The only health professions able to have specialist areas are medicine, dentistry and podiatry.
PBA endorsement is simply an extension of the arbitrary notion of specialists which APS interest groups have granted themselves.
It is notable that seven out of eight psychologist members of the PBA are also members or fellows of the APS; and five out of eight of them identify themselves as "clinical" psychologists (no doubt members of the APS Clinical College). Many of these psychologist members of the PBA scrambled for multiple college memberships prior to the advent of the PBA so that they could be endorsed across multiple areas of psychological practice. This is in spite of the fact that nearly half of them are academics, and it is not possible for people who have spent most of their careers in a teaching role to have undergone the work required to warrant a specialist title in multiple areas of applied psychology.