Improve access to psychological services in regional, rural and remote Australia

Support the implementation of a ‘grow-your-own’ pipeline for the regional, rural and remote psychology workforce that would entail the APS facilitating access to rural internships, supervisors and centralised coordination, supported by rural practice incentive packages.

In the context of high demand for a well-trained health workforce, the psychology profession is considered by Government to be in shortage and the discipline is facing a serious situation with regard to supply in rural areas. This situation must be addressed to ensure sufficient workforce to address the mental health and chronic disease burden of health in rural areas of Australia.

The supply of psychologists in Australia is via postgraduate professional education and training, or tertiary education followed by an internship. Currently, there are constraints on both pathways. Although a large number of people enter first year undergraduate psychology programs across Australia, very few of these individuals are able to go on to become a registered psychologist.

Organisations are increasingly reluctant to employ psychology interns because of the significant and increasing demands on the organisation with regard to supervision. The decline in internship places is of particular concern with regard to the rural and remote workforce because psychologists who obtained registration through the internship route have traditionally been over represented in rural Australia.

The Australian Psychological Society is seeking the support of all political parties to support the implementation of a “grow-your-own” pipeline for the regional, rural and remote psychology workforce, including facilitating access to rural internships, supervisors and centralised coordination, support by a rural practice incentive package.

 

For further details of this proposal, please contact the Australian Psychological Society

Professor Lyn Littlefield OAM, Executive Director l.littlefield@psychology.org.au

Dr Louise Roufeil, Executive Manager, Professional Practice (Policy) l.roufeil@psychology.org.au

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Where do the parties stand?

The APS has asked for a response from the major political parties regarding the key issues. Party responses will be posted below, as we receive them:

 

Freezing of Medicare rebates

The APS supports the GP campaign against the continued freezing of indexation of Medicare rebates.

Emeritus Professor Gina Geffen AM FAPS