Endorsement transition for the public interest

Understanding how the area of practice endorsement transition provisions were in the public interest

Area of practice endorsement did not exist in Australia until the beginning of the national scheme in 2010. Once the Ministerial Council approved area of practice endorsement for psychology, the Board needed to determine whether each individual psychologist would have to apply for endorsement and be assessed against the Area of practice endorsements registration standard, or if there could be transition arrangements.

To provide clients with essential access to treatment, and provide a fair and equitable transition for psychologists, the Board determined that there would be a three-year transition period. The Board adopted the policy that psychologists with WA specialist title, APS College membership and Medicare recognition as a clinical psychologist did not have to apply for endorsement but could transition to the relevant endorsement. Since the criteria in 2010 for WA specialist title, APS College membership and Medicare recognition as a clinical psychologist had many parallels with the Endorsement Standard, this was seen to be of low-risk to public safety. This meant that:

  • Clients had immediate access to psychologists with endorsement from the beginning of the scheme. There were 5884 psychologists with an area of practice endorsement in December 2010.
  • Clients were not subject to breaks in their treatment due to long queues and delays in processing thousands of applications for endorsement arriving at the beginning of the national scheme. This would have required significant additional resourcing by the Board over several years, the significant cost of which would have been passed on to registrants
  • Psychologists with older qualifications (undertaken before APAC was formed in 2003), or those who had been assessed with equivalent qualifications for APS college membership or for Medicare purposes could continue to provide services to their clients.
    Since the Area of practice endorsement standard requires an APAC-accredited qualification, and there is no option for recognised prior learning (RPL) in the standard, some psychologists would not have been able to meet the endorsement standard. Effectively this could have meant that some psychologists would have held APS College membership and/or Medicare eligibility but not be eligible to hold the relevant endorsement. Such a situation would have been very confusing to the public.
  • Psychologists who fell within the transition provisions were not required to complete an application for area of practice endorsement, reducing administrative burden and costs for both psychologists and Ahpra.
 
 
Page reviewed 13/02/2020