Centrelink Impairment Table 5

When a pattern appears but the ‘pattern creators’ deny any involvement the waters can be muddied and confusion can be created.  However it is indeed difficult to continue to deny the more a pattern reveals itself.

Initially we encountered the denial by the APS of any involvement in the two-tier decision.  Under the F.O.I. process we obtained documentation which revealed that the APS had only ever advocated for Clinical Psychologists to be admitted to the Medicare Register. The F.O.I. application process was repeatedly challenged and delayed for almost 12 months by the APS. Even now Littlefield and Co try to run smoke and mirrors around this issue.

Next we encountered this response by Anthony Cichello and Ros Knight … the pattern continues.

The president of the APS, Bob Montgomery, and the Society itself via a newsletter/media release advocated for the two-tier system describing clinical psychologists as receiving “specialist training”.  You can read this here (scroll down to clause 6.29).

We have been asking questions about the Centrelink decision regarding Impairment Table 5 in which reports/assessments must be made by Clinical Psychologists.  We have received no response from the APS.  However, somewhere deep in the patterning we have been experiencing there has lurked an uneasiness, a disturbance that wouldn’t settle.  Now that unease has been affirmed.  A RAPS supporter has received a reply from a letter they wrote to the Department of Social Services.  Included in the reply is the following:

“An Advisory Committee comprising medical and allied health professionals and disability stakeholders was established to oversee the review and provide expert advice on the revised Impairment Tables.  The Advisory Committee included representation from the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, the Australian Psychological Society, and the Mental Health Council of Australia, among others.  A consultation process was also undertaken as part of the review where other medical, health, disability and advocacy stakeholders were invited to contribute, including the Australian Psychological Society.

In considering revised Impairment Table 5 – Mental Health Function, the Advisory Committee discussed the issue of diagnosis very carefully.  The Advisory Committee was of the view that a high level of diagnostic expertise is required given the diagnosis of a mental health condition can be challenging, and therefore must be made by an appropriately qualified medical practitioner, including a psychiatrist.  The committee was of the view that if the diagnosis was not made by a psychiatrist, the diagnosis must be supported by evidence from a clinical psychologist.”

You can download the complete letter from the Department of Social Services here. Please note, personal details have been redacted.

Psychologists know that one of the most valid predictors of future behaviour is ‘past behaviour’. The pattern of past behaviour by the APS is strong and clear – ask yourselves, “what would you predict the future behaviour to be?”

What can you do?

Shrug your shoulders and say it’s too hard and I’m busy enough as it is.

Talk to others repeatedly about the betrayal and disloyalty of the APS … vent!

Resolve to take some action by yourself.

Join us*** and take ‘esprit de corps’ supported collective action.

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We know the fear, we have experienced it as well. We have become a legal entity that can offer you protection … there is more coming about this very soon.

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