NHS Employers and Health Education England have developed an employers’ guide to podiatry which aims to support and enable NHS organisations to attract, recruit and retain a podiatry workforce. The guide is aimed at HR and recruitment teams in the NHS, as well as education and training leads, clinicians and allied health professional leads with an interest in the podiatry workforce.
Podiatrists are highly trained autonomous practitioners who assess, diagnose and treat problems affecting the feet and lower limbs. As experts in improving people’s mobility, lower limbs and general health, podiatrists are experienced in a range of advanced assessment and management techniques.
Areas of work
Podiatrists typically work across the healthcare system with roles in primary, secondary, and community care, in a range of services and multidisciplinary teams. Employers who specialise in the following clinical areas should consider having staff who are qualified podiatrists:
- wound care
- paediatric services
- sports injuries
- gait and pressure analysis
- falls prevention
- orthotic manufacture, fitting and evaluation
- minor skin and nail surgery
- foot and ankle surgery
- musculoskeletal (MSK) and neuromuscular rehabilitation
- biomechanical conditions of children and adults
- vascular services.
The business case
The NHS Long Term Plan highlights the need for expanded community multidisciplinary teams, including podiatrists and other allied health professions (AHPs). Developing a flexible workforce can help employers to keep pace with developments in treatments and interventions, and the podiatrist role can add to the skill mix of a multidisciplinary team.
Podiatrists can be of benefit to both the organisation and patients, improving services and patient care by providing rapid access to services and specialists. They can assist with the early identification of foot ulcers and help reduce the number of amputations.
Demand for podiatrists is predicted to increase by 9 per cent between now and 2025 to meet core service and provider demands. Employers should start planning as early as possible to increase their podiatry workforce and support patient care. Upskilling existing staff can help offset changes in the workforce such a retirement.
Employers' guide to podiatry
We have put together a comprehensive guide for employers which explores career pathways. The guide is aimed at HR and recruitment teams in the NHS, as well as education and training leads, clinicians and allied health professional leads with an interest in the podiatry workforce.
The guide includes sections on:
- what podiatry is
- provides example case studies of podiatrists working in different settings
- attracting people into the profession
- education and training routes, from apprenticeships through to advanced practice roles
- employment and deployment
eLearning podiatry course
Health Education England has developed an eLearning programme to support podiatrists providing training for apprenticeship roles at foundation, intermediate and graduate level. The eLearning sessions have been created for podiatry staff teaching, mentoring, clinically training and educating apprentices within the workforce, taking users step by step through the skills that apprentices will learn. The podiatry undergraduate and post graduate apprenticeship course is available to access via the eLearning for healthcare hub.