NSW Far-South Coast

News Updates

Far South Coast Branch, November 2016

Since the revival earlier this year of the NSW Far South Coast Branch, we had an initial meeting of the new acting committee to get things moving and have had five further general meetings. We have a committee of five (pretty good considering there had been zero throughout last year). The AGM is scheduled for 15 November and I’m hoping all current committee members will nominate, and all Branch members have been urged to nominate too. A PD presentation will occur straight after the AGM with a visiting psychiatrist and local pharmacist discussing psychopharmacology.

Members were asked to suggest PD activities they would be interested in, and several of these will be organised in 2017. Suggestions included:

  • Psychological approaches to the management of chronic pain
  • Working with vulnerable children, families/carers within a trauma-informed practice framework
  • Working with complex trauma
  • Presentations on working with treatment resistant clients
  • Working with sleep difficulties

Members were asked to give feedback on their experiences/opinions about the Better Access/Medicare referral process. Lots of interesting comments, some very detailed, mostly not very happy.

The new South East Regional Hospital, opened this year, including the first stage of a (to be) 20 bed psychiatric unit. In October a delegation of four local APS psychologists, myself included, had an official guided visit to the unit. Renee, our secretary, and I will put together a detailed report of this visit to send out to our membership.

Having re-invigorated this Branch, we are looking forward to an eventful 2017!

Steve Brigham, MAPS
Acting Chair, Far South Coast Branch


Branch Report - June 2016

Since the revival earlier this year of the NSW Far South Coast Branch, there has been an initial Committee meeting March 9, and two general meetings April 14 and May 25. We plan to have monthly meetings open to all members, with an AGM later this year. Currently there is a Committee of five (pretty good considering there had been 0 throughout last year).

I sent out a request for members’ suggestions for PD activities and for comments on the Better Access/Medicare referral process. There were only a handful of responses but some valuable points.

PD suggestions:

  • Psychological approaches to the management of chronic pain.
  • Working with vulnerable children, families/carers within a trauma-informed practice framework.

These would be half or full day workshops and are very likely to occur, especially as we have highly competent local presenters. Other suggestions for 1-2 hour presentations or longer workshops included:

  • Working with complex trauma.
  • Presentations on working with treatment resistant clients.
  • Insomnia.
  • Medications used in mental health.
  • As we have no permanent psychiatrist in this region, presentations on the “more unusual areas”, including assessment and diagnosis.

Better Access/Medicare GP referrals

  • The freeze on the Medicare rebate.
  • No fees for no shows.
  • Maximum of 10 sessions in a calendar year arbitrary, not logical or appropriate clinically and inequitable.
  • The amount of Medicare paperwork - now totally put onto us.
  • Disparity between payments to general vs clinical psychologists for the same work. (Unfair to clinically experienced general psychologists & disadvantages clients who receive different rebates for exactly the same service).
  • Lack of GP knowledge around the MHCP - frequently problems we end up having to chase up, and confusing MHCP & ECP referrals.
  • How many GPs are aware their client’s need to contact the psychologist?
  • GPs telling their client our service is free!
  • Variation in GPs’ knowledge of mental health and assessment ability.  

Steve Brigham, MAPS
Far South Coast Branch, Acting Chair


March 2016 - Far South Coast Branch Report

Steve Brigham, Acting Chair

This is a brief report because the NSW Far South Coast Branch has been completely inactive during the whole of 2015 due to there being no committee. The previous committee had resigned/retired but no local members were prepared to take up committee positions. We were on the edge of having to disband and so mid-year I agreed to be acting chair to attempt to revive the Branch and I sent out several e-mails to our membership asking for volunteers to take on committee roles. I agreed with head office that we give it to the end of 2015 and if no takers we would cease to exist.

Phew, talk about last minute! Our xmas gift was that we now have a brand new acting committee of five, including all office bearer positions, with the aim to organise an AGM to put these forward for ratification by the members. We have two committee meetings arranged for March at which we will be working on activities, PD events and improving processes for 2016. The Far South Coast Branch is back in action.

 Hopefully my next Branch report will be longer and more interesting.