If you are a qualified podiatrist whose HCPC registration has lapsed, support is available to help you return to practice.

For a wide range of reasons podiatrists can cease to practice. Some people choose to take time out from their career to raise children, travel, study, or care for relatives. Some embark on new careers, due to circumstance or opportunity, and allow their HCPC registration and CPD to lapse. Some choose not to register with the HCPC in the first place after qualifying.

In many cases, people later decide that they want to return to clinical practice, but don’t always know how to approach this.

How do I return to practice?

To regain HCPC registration and to be eligible to practice as a podiatrist in the UK, unregistered professionals need to complete a period of updating their skills and knowledge. Most returnees prefer to include a period of practice under supervision from a fully qualified mentor, alongside some formal and informal study. How much time is required for updating depends on how long it has been since they last worked as a podiatrist: 30 days for those who’ve not been registered for over two years and 60 days for five years or more. 

Once the hours are complete, the returnee can make a new readmission application to the HCPC providing evidence of the work they have completed and demonstrating full competency within their scope of practice. With HCPC registration in place, the returnee is free to take a job as a podiatrist in the NHS or independent practice. 

What support is available? 

The Royal College of Podiatry can sometimes help returnees to locate mentors – both within NHS organisations as well as some private practices. We try to find people geographically close by, to make the process as simple as possible.

Financial support

The work that goes towards the required supervised practice and study time is unpaid, so most returnees do this work part-time or at weekends, often continuing with other paid work while they complete their qualification. In some cases, you can get a job as a support worker or in a dedicated RTP post, but this depends on the organisation.

Health Education England is offering funding to cover some of the costs of this process for returnees and their host organisation. Up to £1300 can be divided between the returnee and host supervisor to cover out of pocket expenses such as travel costs, books, uniforms and equipment, and to support study costs. There is currently funding to support 250 registrants to return to the HCPC register, shared across the Allied Health Professions - so it's important to apply as soon as possible, before the funding is used up.  

Reduced membership fees

During the updating process, the Royal College of Podiatry offers mentored members access to the College’s extensive support systems; branches support, self-assessed skills audit, development plan, online teaching and learning resources and, crucially, insurance cover for practice under supervision. This means that providing supervision for a returning podiatrist carries no additional insurance liability for the supervisor or host organisation. 

How to apply

If you have stopped practising but are interested in returning, please get in touch with the Royal College of Podiatry, and we can advise on the process. To apply for financial support from the HEE HCPC programme, you will need to register with Health Education England, who will require information on when you qualified, when you stopped practising, and your proposed date of return. Some eligibility conditions apply - more information on the scheme can be found via this link