A court victory for JASA and ReLPAG as the Cape High Court declares regulations limiting psychologists invalid.
Below is the full Press Release from Jasa.
Jasa Media Release
Justice Alliance of South Africa
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1 Ruskin Road, Bergvliet, Cape Town 7945
Enquiries: Trudie Broekmann
082 322 9124
15 November 2016
A court victory for JASA and ReLPAG as the Cape High Court declares regulations limiting psychologists invalid
Medical aids now required to pay
The Cape High Court made an order yesterday, 14th November 2016, declaring the psychologists’ Scopes of Practice regulations issued by the Minister of Health in 2011, invalid.
JASA (the Justice Alliance of South Africa) and ReLPAG (Recognition of Life Long Learning in Psychology Action Group) had challenged the validity of the regulations. The Scopes of Practice reserve the most important work for a minority of psychologists, with the effect of depriving many South Africans of desperately needed psychological care.
The order was the result of a settlement reached between the parties after the Minister acknowledged in papers that the regulations had not been properly passed. A costs order was made against the Minister of Health and Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) for the major part of the applicants’ legal costs, including the costs of two counsel.
The Board of Healthcare Funders, the fifth respondent, has agreed to abide by the outcome of the case, and consequently its members and the other medical aids, many of whom refused to pay psychologists purportedly working outside the Scope of Practice, will need to resume making payments.
Various medical aids such as Polmed, GEMS, Bonita, Sizwe, Profmed and Medihelp followed a non-payment policy so causing major financial hardship to practitioners, forcing some out of practice and others to leave the country. Patients suffered a great deal also in being forced to leave psychologists who had served them for many years. JASA has been most concerned about the impact of the Scopes of Practice on ordinary South Africans. Research shows that one in three citizens suffer from psychological illnesses and there is a major shortage of psychologists in SA, particularly in remote areas.
JASA is an independent NPO focused on using the law to advance justice. RELPAG (Recognition of Life Long Learning in Psychology Action Group) is a voluntary association of psychologists established with a view to ensuring that counselling, educational and industrial psychologists who have practised in South Africa for many years are not excluded from practising in areas (designated by the Scopes as clinical psychology) in which they are competent, trained and experienced.
Advocates Darryl Cooke and Gavin Brown appeared for JASA and ReLPAG, instructed by A Batchelor and Associates.
For further information go to www.justicealliance.co.za
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