Podiatrist

Overview

Podiatrists are the experts in all aspects of foot and lower limb structure, function and health. They are highly skilled health care professionals trained to diagnose, treat, rehabilitate and prevent disease and complications of the feet, ankles and lower limbs. They can prevent and manage foot problems, relieve pain, treat infection and support foot irregularities, to keep people of all ages mobile and active.

Podiatrists are ideally placed to use their expertise in primary care settings by developing and embedding services that extend the ability of GPs and primary care teams to provide a focus on prevention and early intervention. (RCOP, 2024)

Scope of Practice

Job Responsibilities

  • Diagnosis of new lower limb problems
  • Diagnosis, monitoring, and management of systemic disease, that manifests within the lower limb
  • Oversight of multi-disciplinary team management of the foot at risk of chronic disease complication or amputation
  • Oversight of personalised care planning for people living with long term conditions affecting the lower limb
  • Promotion of health and wellbeing, including signposting as appropriate, to support walking (physical activity), working, and wellbeing
  • Leadership of multi-disciplinary team prevention and management pathways, coordinated through primary care, primarily impacting the lower limb.

Entry Requirements

  • BSc in or pre-reg MSc in Podiatry
  • 3 – 5 years post graduate
  • Registered member of the Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC)
  • Able to operate at an advanced level of practice

Training and Development

Mandatory

Please see above ‘Entry requirements’

Standard (on entry to Primary Care)

NHSE has developed an extension of the skills of the allied AHPs workforce to meet the needs of the population. This means extending skills that are in the remit of podiatry or broadening skills set across professional boundaries (RCOP, 2024)

RCPod’s policy position on Podiatrists as first contact practitioners

First Contact Practitioner (FCP) Recognition

FCP roles began with the development of the FCP Physiotherapist in 2014, in response to the shortage of GPs in Primary Care. FCP roles are designed to support GPs as part of an integrated care team and to optimise the patient care pathway by seeing the right person in the right place at the right time.

To create sustainability for multi-professional FCP roles, there is a need to build a clear national Primary Care training pathway for clinicians moving into FCP roles and then onto Advanced Practitioner roles. Therefore the NHSE ‘Roadmaps to Practice’ were published to support educational pathways for clinicians.

Please find below links to the Roadmap to Practice which will help service providers, managers and Podiatrists themselves to identify what training, qualifications and competencies they should have to safely and effectively practice at first contact practitioner levels.

Where does first contact podiatry fit into primary care (RCOP, 2024)

FCP Roadmap to practice – Podiatrist

Multi-Professional Advanced Capabilities Framework for Lower Limb Viability 2021 (skillsforhealth.org.uk)

College of Podiatry Foot and Ankle Musculoskeletal (MSK) Competency Framework

Working alongside the ‘First Contact Practitioners AND Advanced Practitioners in Primary care (Podiatrist); Roadmap to practice (link above), FCPs must have completed both stage 1 and Stage 2 of the Roadmap to gain recognised First Contact Practitioner MSK status.

  • The Podiatrist can be seen as a ‘trainee FCP’ until full FCP recognition is gained.
  • At present there are 2 main educational pathways by which one can train to be a First Contact Podiatrist:
  1. Via an FCP portfolio completely.
  2. Via portfolio with taught routes via HEI’s. (This may include supported portfolio option, where HEI supports clinician with portfolio completion)

There are two stages to First Contact Practitioner recognition:

  • Stage 1: Preferably, must be completed with a portfolio of evidence and verified before employment in Primary Care. The KSA must be completed prior to employment as a FCP or AP in Primary Care to assure patient safety. For clinicians already working in primary care this can be completed retrospectively
  • Stage 2: Is completed with a portfolio of evidence, including formal module completion and is verified in Primary Care. This is the recognition process of the application of the KSA in Stage 1 to clinical practice in Primary Care. Best practice is that this should be completed within 6 – 12 months for a full-time member of staff but this can be longer provided a completion date is agreed with the employer.
  • ‘Trainee’ FCP’s are advised to keep a folder of evidence ready to submit in the final stages of their pathway.

Education providers

There are education providers across the UK that are successfully running Podiatrist FCP taught modules. NHSE has also provided funding support for applicants to attend these modules. All the providers have committed to taking learners from outside the region that they are based.

Please see information and links below to each provider for further information. If you are looking to enquire about an FCP taught module, please contact the education provider directly to discuss your individual requirements.

Additional Training opportunities

Advanced Practice Recognition

Please see link to the SNEE TH Advanced Practice page for full information.

Supervision Requirements

Supervision is a process of professional learning and development that enables individuals to reflect on and develop their knowledge, skills and competence, through regular support from another professional.

Supervision can have different forms and functions and a number of terms are used to describe these. For this guidance we use the below terms and define them as follows:

  • Clinic/practice supervision: day-to-day support provided by a named/duty senior/more experienced clinician for issues arising in the practice.
  • Clinical/professional supervision: regular support from a named senior/experienced clinician/practitioner to promote high clinical standards and develop professional expertise.
  • Educational supervision: supports learning and enables learners to achieve proficiency.

Supervision Guidance for primary care network multidisciplinary teams (NHSE, 2023)

Clinical and Education supervisors have an integral role to support learners through the FCP Recognition process and to provide assurance that the practitioner has demonstrated the knowledge, skills and attributes required to work in a FCP role in primary care. One of their key roles is to review a learner’s portfolio of evidence and decide whether the individual has met the requirements of an appropriate FCP Roadmap.

For both the FCP Supported Portfolio and FCP Taught routes, Clinical and Education supervisors will work with an education provider, as part of the institution’s quality assurance processes, to support the learner to meet the appropriate level 7 learning outcomes of the applicable FCP Roadmap. Supervisors will sign-off the portfolio of evidence on successful completion.

The route to becoming a supervisor for FCP recognition and training has recently been updated. Please see the ‘NHSE First Contact Practice FAQ’s’ page here for the latest updates on the process.

For further information regarding the FCP Roadmap pathway and processes, please visit: Roadmaps to Practice

Funding

AFC Band 7/8a

100% of actual salary plus defined on costs covered via ARRS Scheme.

Training and development funding

Podiatrists may be entitled to wider NHSE commissioned funding to support their training and development requirements. Please contact the training hub for more information on this.

Recruitment Information

Where a PCN employs or engages a Podiatrist under the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme, the PCN must ensure that the Podiatrist meets the ‘Minimum Role Requirements’ stipulated in Annex B of the Network DES

Please find various resources in this section to assist in the recruitment and embedding of the Podiatrist role in General Practice.

Additional Resources