On 12 September 2018, notice was given that the Minister of Health intends, in terms of the Health Professions Act, and on the recommendation of the Health Professions Council of South Africa and the Professional Board for Psychology, to replace the regulations that currently define the Scope of the Profession of Psychology:
EPASSA finds the draft Regulations Defining the Scope of Profession of Psychology, 2018 which are intended to replace both the previous Scope of Profession (regulation 993 of 2008) and Scope of Practice (regulation 704 of 2011) unacceptable and rejects them in their entirety. We find the definitions of the acts of each category of psychology to be vague, unclear, disjointed, irrational, discriminatory, arbitrary, partisan – even captured – by one of the registration categories over presented on the board, as well as unconstitutional.
We believe that the Health Professions Council of South Africa with the Professional Board for Psychology has failed in their public administration in accordance with Section 195 (1) of the Constitution of South Africa in that they have dismally failed to heed the command to govern by the democratic values and principles enshrined in the Constitution, including the following principles that:
(a) A high standard of professional ethics must be promoted and maintained.
(b) Efficient, economic and effective use of resources must be promoted.
(c) Public administration must be development-oriented.
(d) Services must be provided impartially, fairly, equitably and without bias.
(e) People’s needs must be responded to, and the public must be encouraged to participate in policy-making.
(f) Public administration must be accountable.
(g) Transparency must be fostered by providing the public with timely, accessible
and accurate information.
(h) Good human-resource management and career-development practices, to maximise human potential, must be cultivated.
We also believe that the draft regulations are not in keep with the objects of the professional boards in section 15A(h) of the Health Professions Act 56 of 1974 in that the regulations do not guide the relevant health profession and does not protect the public. The recommendations by the Professional Board for Psychology as signed by the Minister into draft regulation, however want the public to believe the contrary. The draft regulations provide anything but guidance, or protect the public. Rather, they are a source of confusion, uncertainty, inequality and significant malcontent amongst psychologists that in practice serve to strip access to resource from the hands of the public in South Africa. We are enormously disappointed at the disrespect which the Professional Board for Psychology and its cohorts have shown and continue to exhibit toward non-clinical psychologists and those reliant on psychology services
The draft SOP goes against the extensive submissions on Scope of Practice made by many organisations to the HPCSA in 2017. It is also not in line with the recommendations made by the PBP working group on promulgation of the regulations. It appears the boards 'consultative process' may have been nothing more than window dressing.
EPASSA calls on all psychologists who object to this Scope of Profession to submit such objections to the Minister of Health and to join EPASSA as members in our call to action. We will be taking legal advice and meeting with all interested parties in our endeavour to oppose this proposed scope of profession, which we believe is not in the interests of the public or the profession and contravenes our individual constitutional rights to practice in our field of expertise and earn a living. In order to do so we will require both collegial and financial support and we urge all Educational Psychologists to join forces by becoming members of EPASSA, thereby becoming one voice and providing financial support to our opposition to this discriminatory and unconstitutional regulation.
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