Who looks after your feet?
There is confusion amongst the general public as to who can treat feet. It may surprise many, to learn that legally anyone can look at feet and perform certain treatments.
Informed choice should be paramount.
I feel it is important to inform people that not all people who treat feet are Podiatrists or Chiropodists. It is quite complicated and even most other health care professionals do not know these facts.
Chiropodists/Podiatrists are always registered with the HCPC. Its quite simple, if the person is not on the register, then he or she is not a Chiropodist or Podiatrist. The non-registered practitioners may refer to themselves for example as Foot Health Practitioner or Foot Health Specialist.
Circa 2003 the HCPC was formed to regulate many Health Care Professionals. They were given the responsibility to regulate professions allied to medicine including Physiotherapists, Radiographers and Chiropodists/Podiatrists. Prior to 2003, the title Chiropodist/Podiatrist was not protected – that meant anyone could say they were a Podiatrist! Parliament were keen to allow the group of people who didnt hold a diploma or degree training the opportunity to demonstrate their competence and those who did, were able to be “Grandparented” onto the HCPC register. This was a limited time offer and I believe this closed in 2005.
Part of the HCPC instigation was to protect the titles Podiatrist and Chiropodist. These titles are subsequently protected by UK law and only those qualified before the early 1990’s with a Diploma in Chiropody, those with the degree in Podiatry and the very small group “Grandparented” Podiatrists are permitted registration to the HCPC, use of the titles and protection of title.
Interestingly, this means that it is in fact a criminal offence to falsely claim the titles.
To add more complication, only those qualified with a Diploma in Chiropody (DPodM) and or the degree in Podiatric Medicine (not the Grandparented Podiatrists) are permitted to work for the NHS
Some Podiatrists, like myself, work in both NHS and private practice.