Page 1650 - Week 05 - Thursday, 2 June 2022

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(11) Why was the attempt to develop a separate classification and award structure for psychologists within the 2018-2021 ACT Public Sector Enterprise Agreement unsuccessful.

(12) What objections were made to this attempt and who/what organisations objected or expressed reservations.

Ms Davidson: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:

1. Custodial Mental Health (CMH) does not have budgeted FTE or positions. All positions are recruited to the broader Forensic Mental Health Service (FMHS) and staffing for CMH is derived from an overall budgeted FTE for FMHS of 23. CMH has allocated 16 FTE positions since 2020.

2. FMHS has not filled all positions simultaneously for approximately four years.

3. Current FTE for CMH as of 1 April 2022 was 12.2FTE

4. Current budgeted FTE for psychologists in CMH is 3.0FTE permanent and 1.0FTE temporary.

5. The job titles for psychologists in CMH are Health Professional Officer (Level 1 or 2) and may be filled by general registered psychologists, clinical psychology registrars or clinically or forensically endorsed psychologists.

6. Currently all psychologist positions are filled with total FTE of 4.6 made of permanently and temporarily funded positions.

7. There are no psychologist positions currently unstaffed in CMH.

8. The Team Leader Specialist Interventions position is a Health Professional Level 4 (HP4) position with supervisory responsibilities and is a higher classification and, as such, there is no allowance or additional pay.

9. In the past three years, there have been 20 advertised recruitment rounds to fill Health Professional positions at various levels.

10. As articulated by the subject matter experts employed to assist the Audit Office, difficulties in recruitment and retention of psychologists is not unique to Canberra Health Services. The introduction of the Better Access Medicare provisions has drastically increased job opportunities for psychologists in the private sector that exceed the number of graduates produced by the tertiary institutions. CHS has several incentives to improve attraction and retention of psychologists in mental health including a mental health psychologist allowance, a professional development allowance of up to $1500 per year, access to clinical supervision, and financial support to achieve post-graduate specialist qualifications. In addition, Forensic Mental Health Services provides its psychologists with access to specialist professional development and study leave, flexible working arrangements, individual clinical supervision, specialist group supervision, and support to obtain endorsement in either Clinical or Forensic Psychology. Mental Health, Justice Health and Alcohol & Drug Services also sponsors six candidates each year to undertake the psychology internship pathway to registration.

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