Prof Sumaya Laher

President: Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA)

Dear PsySSA Members

Spring is virtually upon us and for PsySSA members this heralds the coming of our much-awaited annual Congress. As indicated in previous communication, PsySSA is hosting the inaugural Pan African Psychology Union Congress (PAPU2017). Hence the annual PsySSA Congress has been incorporated into PAPU2017. With over 600 presentations spanning all areas of Psychology, it’s no wonder registration for PAPU is moving at a brisk space.  Members can access the programme at http://papu2017.com/programme/ . PAPU promises to deliver much and Psychology professionals who miss this event will be missing out in a big way! PAPU offers the opportunity to earn the entire years CPD points, network with a variety of scholars and practitioners in your field and, of course, meet old friends. Remember there is an extra discount on PAPU registration fees for PsySSA members. The PsySSA AGM is scheduled for Monday the 18th of September (16h00- 17h30). The Opening Ceremony will be at 17h45 and a fun-filled Welcome reception at 19h30. We hope to see you there.

More good news is on the cards for PsySSA. The Professional Board for Psychology (PBP) has responded positively to PsySSA’s request to intervene with the medical aids. We wish the PBP success in its correspondence with the medical aids. Members would have noted the recent articles in the media on the increase in mental health claims. This trend is very explainable and PsySSA met with Discovery Health in June to discuss and explain this. Discovery was particularly concerned at a few outlier cases of psychologists (across all categories) allegedly over-claiming on certain codes. We have agreed with Discovery’s approach which is to contact each of the practitioners and explore the trends detected in claiming. We have indicated that we are certain PsySSA members would have reasonable explanations for this.

The PBP has completed its first round of consultations on the Scope of Practice. PsySSA presented to the PBP on the 22 June 2017. The presentation as well as two further models submitted for consideration can be accessed at http://www.psyssa.com/the-way-forward-re-the-scope-of-practice-of-the-profession-sop-of-psychology-3/ . Feedback on these models can be submitted to fatima@psyssa.com. PsySSA wishes to thank the PBP for the opportunity to consult and hopes that going forward the PBP will continue to consult with all stakeholders in Psychology.

The PBP has released a summary of the survey conducted with all Psychology professionals in 2015 http://www.psyssa.com/national-survey-of-all-registered-psychology-practitioners-2/ . The PBP has also responded on the increase in exam fees indicating that the much-increased fees will remain. The PBP indicated further that Psychology exam fees are still more reasonable than for other professions. PsySSA would appreciate feedback from students and other stakeholders on this matter. Feedback can be forwarded to fatima@psyssa.com.

PsySSA continues to engage together with the Association of Test Publishers and the Society of Industrial/Organisational Psychology of South Africa on issues of psychological test review and classification with the PBP. Clause D may have been removed as per the court ruling in May, but Clauses a, b and c of the Section of the Employment Equity Act which require that tests be reliable, valid and fair still hold. PsySSA hopes that the most recent revisions of the test review and classification guidelines will be released for comment soon.

PsySSA has engaged the Minister of Health on the healthcare of refugees following the harrowing story of the woman who gave birth at Park Station allegedly after being turned away from three of our hospitals http://www.psyssa.com/health-care-for-migrants-the-case-of-ms-francine-ngalula-kalala/.  While additional information has come to light following the Minister’s swift and commendable investigation into this matter, PsySSA is nevertheless very concerned about attitudes to refugees in our country, their access to services and the problem of xenophobia.

This piece is the last I will write to members. My term as President of PsySSA ends at Congress in September. I would like to thank the PsySSA community for the support extended to me during 2017 and wish my successor, Prof Tholene Sodi all the best for his term.

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