What can podiatrists do in primary care?
Podiatrists are one of five First Contact Practitioner (FCP) roles in Primary Care under the Additional Roles Reimbursement scheme (ARRs). Podiatrists are experts in foot and ankle health. This also includes taking a lead role in supporting people with long term conditions that can affected foot and ankle health, including arthritis, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Up to 8% of GPs consultations for MSK are related to foot and ankle problems.
Roles may include:
- Early identification of problems to prevent chronic foot health issues
- Specialist knowledge of foot and ankle health across a wide range of clinical presentations including MSK, cardiovascular, neurological, dermatological or age-related conditions
- Depending on experience and training may FCP podiatrists can request and interpret a range of diagnostic tests (this can include X-rays where local permissions are in place).
- Provide self-management advice
- Formulate treatment plans
- Depending on experience and training some FCP Podiatrists can prescribe limited treatment including antibiotics as appropriate
- Preserve foot and ankle function, reducing the risk of immobility
- Preserve foot and ankle health, reducing the risk of wounds, infection, or amputation
- Support identification and management of Peripheral Arterial Disease
- Work as part of a multi-disciplinary team (MDT)
Short video on First Contact Podiatrists in Primary Care:
Training and Supervision
FCP podiatrists will usually have a BSc in podiatry under a training programme approved by the college of Podiatry. Podiatrists will need to hold a registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) also.
As mentioned above podiatrists within Primary Care are banded at level 7, as FCPs. To become an FCP, professionals will need a minimum of 5 years postgraduate experience. Workforce Transformation and Education have developed ‘roadmaps’ to outline the required training and experience needed to progress to an FCP level, and onwards to advanced practice, as required/appropriate.
The roadmap for podiatrists can be found at: First Contact Practitioners and Advanced Practitioners in Primary Care: (Podiatry) A Roadmap to PracticeFirst Contact Practitioners and Advanced Practitioners in Primary Care: (Musculoskeletal) A Roadmap to Practice (hee.nhs.uk)
WT&E Roadmap FAQs can be a useful source of information: Roadmap FAQs | Workforce Transformation and Education (hee.nhs.uk).
For further information on FCPs please click here (link coming soon).
A roadmap supervisor will be needed to support FCP podiatrists in their training and ongoing development. Eligibility for roadmap supervisors includes:
- GP Trainers/Educational Supervisors (ES’s do not need to do the 2 day course but have an optional top up session available on e-learning for health- Top up Training Video for GP Educational Supervisors – elearning for healthcare (e-lfh.org.uk))
- Clinicians who have a post registration Masters degree (Pre registration Masters degrees DO NOT qualify)
- Full MACP member
- First Contact Practitioners who are recognised by the WT&E Centre
- Advanced Practitioners who are recognised by the WT&E Centre
The Gloucestershire Primary Care Training hub has an FCP/AP lead and 2 Primary Care supervision fellows who are available to support with roadmap and supervision queries. Please contact PCWC inbox (email@example.com) with your query and this can be forwarded onto the right person. Funding has been given to each PCN to support backfill for attendance of GPs who are not already GP trainers, to attend the 2 day roadmap supervisor course.
To book for the roadmap supervisor courses please see: Roadmap Supervisor Courses – Gloucestershire Primary Care Workforce Centre (glosprimarycare.co.uk)
An example job description can be found on the right of the page.