Podiatry Assistant Practitioner

Podiatry Assistant Practitioners are healthcare support workers, who may also be known as Podiatry Assistants or Foot Care Assistants. They work alongside registered Podiatrists to provide general foot treatments, apply dressings, assist with minor surgeries and advise patients on foot and nail care.

Podiatry Assistant Practitioners help treat patients of all ages with conditions such as:

  • lower limb pain, such as  rheumatoid arthritis or problems with walking
  • diabetes sufferers with circulation problems that affect limbs
  • sports injuries and biomechanical disorders
  • fungal nail infections or ingrown toe nails, which may need nail surgery or laser treatment, using local anaesthetic
  • peripheral arterial disease
  • skin conditions

As a Podiatry Assistant Practitioner, you would give clinical support to the Podiatrist, making sure they have all the equipment they need to treat patients. You would prepare the patient for treatment by cleaning their feet and making them feel comfortable.

After the Podiatrist has assessed the patient and recommended a treatment plan, you would be able to carry out simple procedures, such as taking insole templates, cutting toenails or applying dressings. You may also advise patients on foot health and footwear.

Other duties may include:

  • providing advice about personal foot care
  • manufacturing orthotics
  • wound management
  • diabetic foot screening
  • therapeutic ultrasound
  • clinical environment management
  • giving health education talks

In-between treatments, you would clean and sterilise equipment ready for the next patient.

Within the NHS in Scotland, Podiatry Assistant Practitioners work in many different areas:

  •          health centres
  •          GP practices
  •          community clinics
  •          hospitals
  •          care homes.

They work within the larger multidisciplinary team and play an important role in the delivery of holistic care to patients.

Useful skills include:

  • practical skills and good hand-eye coordination
  • strong communication skills
  • a caring and understanding manner
  • good team-working skills
  • IT skills
  • excellent work ethic

Useful abilities include:

  • the ability to work with people from different lifestyles or backgrounds
  • the ability to work with different equipment and materials
  • the ability to manage your own time and work schedule

Podiatry Assistant Practitioner in NHSScotland

To apply for a job as a Podiatry Assistant Practitioner, you are likely to need a good standard of general education, including English and Maths. Previous voluntary or paid work experience in a healthcare setting would be an advantage.

The specific entry requirements will depend of the Agenda for Change (AfC) band (2, 3 or 4) for the job. The qualifications asked for may also vary, depending on the recruiting NHSScotland board. You are advised to contact each individual board to find out its specific requirements.

You may also require or be encouraged to work towards an SVQ Healthcare Support (Clinical) at SCQF Level 6 and SCQF Level 7 qualification. Find out more about qualifications for healthcare support workers on the SQA website.

Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme

Depending on the role, you will also need to be approved for membership of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme managed by Disclosure Scotland.

Modern Apprenticeships offer those aged over 16 paid employment with the opportunity to train for jobs at craft, technician and management level.

The Modern Apprenticeship in Healthcare Support (clinical) at SCQF Level 6 and SCQF Level 7 is a framework for people interested in working in a clinical healthcare setting.

For more information about this Modern Apprenticeship framework, look at:

Contact your local NHSScotland board to find out if this Modern Apprenticeship is available in your area.

Working as a Podiatry Assistant Practitioner in NHSScotland, you will be given the training you need for the job including:

  •          an introduction to the department and its procedures
  •          how to use the equipment
  •          record keeping
  •          skin and nail pathologies
  •          microbiology
  •          anatomy and physiology
  •          foot conditions
  •          nail operations

Working closely with registered Podiatrists and experienced support workers, and by completing a supervised programme of training, you’ll be able to develop your skills.

Career development

You may also be encouraged to work towards further education qualifications, such as the Professional Development Award (PDA) in Podiatry Support at SCQF level 7. Other SCQF level 7 courses are available. This could be the first step you take towards becoming a qualified Podiatrist.

Podiatry Assistant Practitioners can join the College of Podiatry as associate members. The College provides courses, conferences and seminars where you can update your skills and network with others doing similar work.

Find out more information from these professional bodies.

Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC)

The HCPC is an independent, UK-wide regulatory body responsible for setting and maintaining standards for health, psychological, and in England; social work professionals. It maintains a public register of qualified professionals and works to improve industry standards and education. Visit the HCPC website to find out more.

http://www.hcpc-uk.org/

College of Podiatry

The College of Podiatry is the professional body and trade union for registered podiatrists in UK. All members are fully qualified and registered with the Health and Care Professions Council. Find out more on the College of Podiatry website.

http://www.scpod.org/