• Independent private practice;
  • medicare;
  • psychology


There have always been independent private psychology practitioners in Australia, yet in the past payment of their services was largely by a user-pays model. The introduction of Medicare Benefits for patients, under the Enhanced Primary Care program in 1999, and Better Access in Mental Health Care in 2006, along with Government-funded mental health initiatives such as Better Outcomes in Mental Health Care introduced in 2001, has provided an alternative funding model for independent private psychological services. Introduction of these and other Government-funded programs has raised questions about the responsiveness of the psychology workforce to meet the changing demands for psychological services created by these reforms. This study aimed to profile the characteristics of 3,587 independent private psychologists who provide services to clients under these schemes by analysing their responses to the Australian Psychology Workforce Survey. Of the 44% of psychologists completing the survey who indicated that they had a Medicare Provider Number, only 61% were in private practice as their main job. The remainder conducted services for Medicare-funded clients as part of a private practice in a second job. The demographic characteristics, work roles, client groups and income of psychologists with Medicare provider numbers are reported.