The APS MBS Expert Committee

Most APS members were shocked today by the disclosure of the members on the so-called independent APS MBS Expert Committee today.

The composition of the 20-member Committee is not independent and is once again grossly biased towards one group of endorsed members, particularly the clinical members. There are 6 clinical endorsed members on the Committee compared to 4 general members, despite General members outnumbering the clinicals twice over.

If you exclude the 4 non-APS members on the Committee (the Independent Chair, the Health economist, and the two consumer members), there are 16 APS members left on the Committee. Of these 16 members, only 4 (25%) are from the Division of General Psychology, who represent over 50% of APS members. Compare this to the endorsed members, who with 11 members make up 69% of the Committee, but who only represent 40% of APS members. (There is one Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander).

The difference between general and endorsed psychologists is only 2-years training, yet the almost 30,000 Australian general psychologists are marginalized, publicly denigrated by the clinical psychologists and have very little say in their own future. They are been referred to as the ‘sleeping giant’ in the Society and god help the APS when they finally wake up.

Many have left the Society to have their interests better met by other groups such as the Association of Australian Psychologists, who now report their number of members to be 7,000.

Many had hoped the APS MBS Expert Committee might have offered a genuine opportunity to find a way to unite the profession but it now looks like the same vested interests will hold sway. If the Expert Committee really wants to understand what the profession needs, they will need to demand a truly representative Committee that also includes other membership groups, such as the AAP.

In its present state this initiative is a like having a Banking Royal Commission but only talking to one bank!