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Psychologists Ask Government To Fund Catch-Up

Wednesday 16 February 2005

Clinical Psychologists Ask Government To Fund Catch-Up

“Clinical Psychologists working for the Capital Coast and Hutt Valley District Health Boards have voted unanimously to call on the Labour Government to properly fund their Boards so they can negotiate pay increases in line with Doctors and Nurses who have already obtained deserved and substantial catch-up,” said Nadine Marshall, Secretary of the National Union of Public Employees (NUPE) today.

She was commenting ahead of the NUPE negotiations which continue on Thursday (17 Feb) for Clinical Psychologists in the Capital Coast and Hutt Valley District Health Boards.

“The Government has given Boards less than 2% to fund salary rises in 2005 when catch-up for groups like Clinical Psychologists require 30%,” said Nadine Marshall. “This places Health Boards in an impossible position having to face down employees’ legitimate expectations while the Government tries to wash its hands of the problem.”

“All Clinical Psychologists undertake a minimum of six years of academic, practical and research training at university before qualifying to practice. Their salaries relativity has traditionally been set between those of Doctors and Nurses. A 30% catch up would maintain that relativity (though still 25% below that of Doctors in the Boards.)”

“Clinical Psychologists are key players in the assessment and treatment of a variety of mental health issues. Clinical psychologists also provide reports for the courts that assess risk of future offending and contribute to judicial decisions about mentally ill offenders,” said Nadine Marshall.

“They typically work alongside other mental health professionals including nurses, psychiatrists and social workers but have a unique role to play. Given their extensive training and demanding practice, Clinical Psychologists believe that this catch-up in their current pay-scale must be achieved ASAP.”

“The 30% pay increases for the relatively small number of Clinical Psychologists across New Zealand (about 300) needs to be funded upfront by the government,” said Nadine Marshall. “Otherwise the prospect of Clinical Psychologists having to take industrial action to persuade the Government to front up with money seems inevitable.”

ENDS

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