The investigation revealed that the norms 3.5 and 3.7 of the Deontological Code adopted by OPP, prevent psychologists from capturing clients of other professionals and treating clients who are already being treated by another psychologist for the same purpose. These restrictions apply to any psychologist providing services in Portugal.
PCA concluded that the norms 3.5 and 3.7 of the Deontological Code are likely to affect the functioning of the market, in particular, by restricting client´s freedom of choice and the Psychologist’s freedom to provide their services.
On 29 August 2016, OPP offered a set of commitments to meet the competition concerns expressed by the PCA. According to these commitments, OPP will, inter alia, amend norms 3.5 and 3.7 of the Code, withdrawing the above mentioned prohibitions.
OPP also offered to publish a new version of the Deontological Code in its Website, highlighting the amendment of 3.5 and 3.7 norms of the Code, as well as, mailing a Circular Letter to phycologists, informing on the above mentioned amendment and its implementation.
The PCA has accepted the commitments and has issued a Commitments Decision on the 10th November 2016 (under article 24, No. 3, d), Law No. 19/2012, of 8 may), as it has considered that such decision enforces public interest and competition in the market of professional services provided by psychologists in Portugal.