Orthotic Support Worker

Orthotic Support Workers assist registered Orthotists to support patients by manufacturing externally applied devices, called orthoses, to meet their specific needs.

Orthotists design the orthoses, such as splints, braces or special footwear to provide the maximum fit, function, appearance and comfort for the patient. Often, the Orthotic Support Worker is involved in the design stage and will provide technical support and expertise in the manufacturing of the orthotic device. Orthoses can be made using a wide range of materials, such as titanium, thermoplastics, leather, carbon fibre and composite materials.

My name is Francesca Muratore. I work as an Orthotics Technician, senior assistant in Gartnavel General [Hospital] in NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde.

So, I am a technician. I have been trained to assess the patient, fit and deliver compression hosiery.

The skills I need are manual skills and I need to know how to use hand tools. I need problem solving skills and computer skills, obviously.

I make insoles for the patient and the insoles stop the pain to the patient. With an insole, I can improve the life of the patient.

I like and enjoy work with the computer and also I like making something to help a patient and to make better their life.

I feel really proud to have something I made in my hands. I feel very proud of that.

 


As an Orthotic Support Worker, you would work under the supervision of an Orthotist, using their design and specifications to manufacture orthoses using the most suitable materials. You would also responsible for maintaining and repairing them.

You would work with people of all ages with a wide range of conditions including:

  • arthritis
  • cerebral palsy
  • stroke
  • spina bifida
  • scoliosis

In a hospital setting, you may work with Doctors, Nurses, Podiatrists, Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists as part of a multi-disciplinary team.

Your main tasks would include:

  •          manufacture, maintain and repair orthotic devices
  •          support and develop manufacturing processes to meet quality standards
  •          ensure work areas are maintained and kept clean
  •          ensure manufacturing equipment is maintained
  •          ordering materials and equipment

 

Orthotic Support Workers are also expected to keep up to date with the latest manufacturing techniques and technologies, such as computer-aided design (CAD), and computer-aided modeling (CAM).

Orthotic Technicians

Orthotic Support Workers can work as Orthotic Technicians making splints, braces or special footwear for people of all ages to aid movement, correct deformity and relieve discomfort.

They are involved in the design stage, using digital imaging techniques, CAD and CAM. They then manufacture the orthoses using the most suitable materials.

Orthotic Assistant Practitioners

Orthotic Support Workers can also work as Orthotic Assistant Practitioners who see patients in clinics. They have a clinical caseload and see a number of patients as part of a team including Orthotists and other professionals. 

In some NHSScotland boards, Orthotic Support Workers can carry out both roles or carry out some aspects of both. Contact your local board to find out more. 

Useful skills include:

  • creativity
  • practical skills and an attention to detail
  • good design skills
  • problem-solving skills
  • strong communication skills
  • IT and CADCAM skills

 Useful abilities include:

  • the ability to use hand tools
  • the ability to work with different materials
  • the ability to work from technical instructions and designs
  • able to work to deadlines

Although there are no set entry requirements, you are likely to need a good standard of general education, including English, Maths and a science or engineering subject. Previous engineering or manufacturing experience would also be useful.

Experience in healthcare, particularly for jobs where you have contact with patients is also beneficial. Even where this is not specified, it would be an advantage if you have worked in health or social care, either in paid employment or voluntary work.

You may also require or be encouraged to work towards an SVQ Healthcare Support (Clinical) at SCQF Level 6 and SCQF Level 7. Find out more about these and other qualifications for people working in the NHS in Scotland, on the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) website.

Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme

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.

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
  • manufacturing processes

Working closely with Orthotists and experienced Orthotic Technicians, and by completing a supervised programme of training will allow you to develop your skills. 

You may have the opportunity to study for qualifications such as SVQs. Find out more about qualifications for Clinical Healthcare Support Workers in NHSScotland. You could also attend short courses on particular topics.

Orthotic Technicians can become members of the British Association of Prosthetists and Orthotists (BAPO) or the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists. Both organisations run courses, conferences and seminars where orthotic technicians can update their 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/

British Association of Prosthetists and Orthotists (BAPO)

BAPO represents the interests of prosthetic and orthotic professionals in the UK. It aims to enhance standards of prosthetic and orthotic practice through its commitment to continued professional development (CPD) and education. Find out more on the BAPO website.

http://www.bapo.com/

College of Podiatry

The College of Podiatry is the professional body and trade union for registered podiatrists in UK. Orthotic Technicians can join as Associate Members. Find out more on the College of Podiatry website.

http://www.scpod.org/