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Annual report shows the Psychology Board of Australia took a consultative approach to regulation of the profession in 2016/17

15 Nov 2017

The Annual Report for AHPRA and the National Boards for the year to 30 June 2017 is now available to view online.

Over the past year, registration with the Psychology Board of Australia (the Board) grew by 3.2% to almost 35,000 registered psychologists. This contingent now comprises 5.2% of all health practitioners in the National Accreditation and Registration Scheme (the National Scheme), according to information published today in the annual report by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).

The 2016/17 annual report, produced by AHPRA and the 14 National Boards, is a comprehensive record of the National Scheme for the year ending 30 June 2017. The Board works in partnership with AHPRA to regulate the psychology profession nationally.

‘The Board contributed significant resources towards reforming the education and training model for psychology in 2016/17,’ said Professor Brin Grenyer, Chair of the Psychology Board of Australia. ‘To reduce the regulatory burden and complexity of psychology training, the Board continues to work on viable options to retire the 4+2 internship pathway to registration.’

A number of other regulatory initiatives were implemented during the year, including a workforce survey that was conducted to build an evidence base around such issues as supervision and area of practice endorsement. Approximately 25,000 psychologists (94% of the registrant base) participated in the survey.

‘We also conducted public forums to discuss contemporary issues in psychology practice,’ said Professor Grenyer.

A snapshot of the profession in 2016/17:

  • Easy to renew: This year saw the largest online registration renewal rate ever achieved across all 14 registered health professions. Over 98.5% of all registered health practitioners renewed online and on time, with 98.7% of psychologists renewing online.
  • Increased registration year on year: Psychologists comprise 5.2% of all health practitioners registered in Australia, and the registrant base continues to grow (up 3.2% from 2015/16 to 34,976 registrants).
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders on the register: According to a workforce survey that practitioners can choose to fill out at the time of registration/renewal, 0.6% of psychologists are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander (192 psychologists nationally).
  • Complaints received about psychologists: 360 notifications (complaints or concerns) were lodged with AHPRA about psychologists in 2016/17. This equates to 1.6% of the profession.
  • 27 mandatory notifications were made about psychologists: 20 were about standards, four about impairment and three about sexual misconduct.
  • Immediate action was taken ten times during the year to suspend or cancel a psychologist’s registration while a matter was investigated.
  • Of the 344 matters closed about psychologists in 2016/17: 14% resulted in the Board accepting an undertaking or conditions being imposed on an psychologist’s registration; 8.7% resulted in a caution or reprimand; 1.7% resulted in suspension or cancellation of registration, and 74.7% resulted in no further action being taken.
  • Statutory offence complaints: There were 116 statutory offence complaints made about psychologists in 2016/17 (up from 83 in 2015/16). The majority (85) related to use of a protected title; 23 were about advertising breaches.
  • Active monitoring cases as at 30 June 2017: 153 psychologists were monitored during the year for health, performance and/or conduct.

‘There are now almost 680,000 registered health practitioners across Australia,’ said AHPRA CEO Mr Martin Fletcher. ‘This Annual Report highlights our strong and shared commitment with the Board to ensure the public has access to a competent, qualified registered health workforce and to take decisive action when required to keep the community safe.’

To view the 2016/17 annual report, along with supplementary tables that segment data across categories such as registration, notifications, statutory offences, tribunals and appeals, and monitoring and compliance, see Annual Report microsite.

In the coming weeks, AHPRA and the National Boards will also publish summaries of our work regulating health practitioners in each of the 14 registered health professions. Jurisdictional reports, which present data on registered health practitioners in each state and territory will be published in December.

For more information

Page reviewed 15/11/2017