[dropcap_1]A[/dropcap_1]s you know the healthcare industry has changed over the last few years. At present the proposed NHI system by government is also posing various threats to the healthcare industry as it is known. Individual practitioners or group practices of clinical psychologists may not be able to deal with the complexities in the healthcare industry, by themselves, nor may it be possible to incur the costs involved as an individual practitioner. As a collective this becomes possible.

Without a backing collective organisation clinical psychology finds itself not formally protected in an environment that seems more aggressive and hostile than relational and adaptive. Due to the latter as well as the way the healthcare industry has evolved and is currently evolving, it has become evident that clinical psychology would need to collectively address the issues it is facing as a profession. An approach that is more effective and can efficiently respond to threats that will impact on clinical psychology as a profession within an evolving healthcare industry is needed.

At least part of the motivation for the formation of the Clinical Psychology Forum is the urgency prompted by evolving markets in the healthcare field of South Africa. Another motivational factor is that the market place needs an approach and organisation that can respond far more hastily. When only clinical psychology is catered for, this makes it far more viable to respond quickly and appropriately. Focusing on clinical psychology gives the CPF the advantage of creating common ground amongst its members.

A group of concerned clinical psychologists subsequently decided to formalise an approach to managing the market and thus the Clinical Psychology Forum was established. The Clinical Psychology Forum is taking up concerns of the profession of clinical psychology with the Professional Board for Psychology as well as the medical schemes and other relevant stakeholders.

The Clinical Psychology Forum is at present an association formed to promote the field of knowledge and practice of the profession of clinical psychology. Clinical psychology historically has concerned itself with the psycho-medical aspect of psychology which distinguishes it from other branches of the profession and training in this branch reflects this.

After careful consideration and investigation, the Clinical Psychology Forum decided to embrace the approach that is currently used by several healthcare provider groups in South Africa with great success. This approach incorporates contracting HealthMan (www.healthman.co.za), a company dedicated to dealing with the issues and complexities in the healthcare industry in South Africa. HealthMan has a proven track record in this regard and would be of great benefit to assist clinical psychology to strategically manage the threats and opportunities in the healthcare industry. This approach is one used currently by several specialist health care provider groups in South Africa. This adds a further benefit in that there is evidence that other healthcare professionals have gained greatly by creating separate organisational structures (such as the Clinical Psychology Forum) to address the issues as already highlighted. As with the other professional groupings, which are named later in this document, a structure was put in place separate from the typical professional societies or associations to specifically deal with private practice matters and to ensure the survival of the profession. You would be encouraged to gather information about these organisations of other professional groupings to see for yourself how they operate. The Clinical Psychology Forum would and is committed to engage with the South African Society for Clinical Psychology.

Because of reasons already alluded to, consultants that specialise in the healthcare field – such as HealthMan – are needed and should be contracted to do the large volume of work as well as having the professionals of HealthMan available to represent clinical psychology at high levels with the various stakeholders in the market. Understandably this would require funds to enable the Clinical Psychology Forum to contract HealthMan and to achieve its aims.