Psychology Board of Australia - 2021/22 annual summary

2021/22 annual summary

Psychology 2021/22

Snapshot

44,917 psychologists

  • Up 7.4% from 2020/21
  • 5.3% of all registered health practitioners

0.7% identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander

80.4% female; 19.6% male

Age

Age: <25 3.5%, 25-34 25.0%, 35-44 26.9%, 45-54 21.1%, 55-64 13.7%, 65-74 8.0%, >75 1.8%

Regulating

Notifications

637 notifications lodged with Ahpra about

528 psychologists

  • 1,148 notifications about 909 psychologists made Australia-wide, including HPCA and OHO data
  • 2.0% of the profession

Sources of notifications

Sources of notifications: 63.3% Patient, relative or member of the public, 14.6% Other practitioner, 7.2% Health complaints entity, 5.2% Employer, 0.8% Board initiated, 8.9% Other

Most common types of complaint

Most common types of complaint: 22.9% Clinical care, 12.9% Documentation, 12.6% Communication, 10.7% Boundary violation, 7.2% Confidentiality, 6.8% Behaviour, 4.9% Health impairment, 2.0% Breach of non-offence provision - National Law, 2.0% Offence against other law, 18.0% Other

45 immediate actions taken

61 mandatory notifications received

  • 24 about professional standards

Notifications closed

Notifications closed: 576 notifications closed, 12.8% conditions imposed on registration or an undertaking accepted, 5.9% cautioned or reprimanded, 1.7% registration suspended or cancelled, 15.8% referred to another body or retained by a health complaints entity, 63.7% no further action

Monitoring

224 practitioners monitored for health, performance and/or conduct during the year

221 cases being monitored at 30 June:

  • 52 for conduct
  • 20 for health
  • 49 for performance
  • 22 for prohibited practitioner/student
  • 78 for suitability/eligibility for registration

Criminal offence complaints

90 criminal offence complaints made

  • 83 about title protection
  • 7 about advertising breaches

95 closed

Referred to an adjudication body

14 matters decided by a tribunal

1 matter decided by a panel

Appeals

9 appeals lodged

From the Chair

Key projects

Developing a code of conduct

Work continued on developing a Board-authored Code of conduct.

We established a Code Expert Advisory Group (CEAG) to provide advice on drafting the code. The draft code incorporates all the research and development that we did during the year, as well as the CEAG advice on issues specific to psychological practice.

We also conducted significant testing of the draft code with key regulatory partners, including our coregulators in Queensland and NSW. Overall, there was good regulatory alignment between the Psychology Board of Australia's draft code and the currently endorsed code of ethics. User feedback about how the Board’s code could be applied in regulatory processes was also positive.

The next stage is wide-ranging consultation with the community, psychologists and other stakeholders. The Board will use the results of the public consultation to determine the final version.

Education and training reform

We are continuing our review of the competencies for general registration as part of the education and training reform (ETR) program of work (Stage two). The purpose of this stage of the ETR program is to update the competencies to ensure they are contemporary and that they clearly outline the expectations of the threshold competencies required for safe and effective psychology practice in Australia.

We have been laying the groundwork needed to ensure that refreshed competencies incorporate essential elements that are missing in the current competencies. This includes expanding the requirements for culturally safe and trauma-informed care when working with diverse groups, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, families and communities; and better explaining the competency requirements for reflective practice and self-care.

We have conducted preliminary consultation on our early draft competencies to test our proposals with key stakeholders. We are taking our time to carefully incorporate the feedback we have received to date, and to ensure that the competencies are thoughtfully improved.

We have also appointed two working groups to collaborate on the program of work, and to provide a forum for engagement.

Once we have finalised a set of draft competencies, we will conduct our usual wide-ranging public consultation to seek feedback.

Retirement of the 4+2 internship

Stage one of the ETR program involved a proposal to retire the 4+2 internship to streamline the pathways to registration. We announced this in 2019 and, following the agreed transition period, the 4+2 internship pathway closed to new applicants on 30 June 2022.

The 4+2 internship model served the profession well for many years; however, it is no longer the preferred training model for psychology in Australia. Provisional psychologists can choose from two contemporary pathways to general registration: the 5+1 internship or higher degree pathway.

Regulatory response to COVID-19

We continued to modify some of our regulatory requirements for psychologists due to the ongoing impact of the pandemic. This included continuing to deliver the national psychology exam online.

A hardship policy remains in place for psychologists and provisional psychologists who are experiencing genuine financial hardship due to COVID-19. Psychologists have also been included on the 2021 pandemic sub-register.

Ms Rachel Phillips

 
 
Page reviewed 22/11/2022