Standards for the foot health workforce
Health Education England is launching its standards for the foot health support workforce
The Foot Health Standards are part of work which aims to increase the supply of podiatrists in the NHS, while expanding the role of the support workforce. The Standards will ensure that the NHS recognises the knowledge and skills of the wider foot health support workforce.
The Standards were open to consultation in late 2020. The responses of stakeholders have been used to further develop the Standards and to better understand the issues and challenges around this topic.
The Standards are intended to support the NHS in utilising the full skills mix of the foot health workforce to meet demand, by providing a clear understanding of the footcare treatments that the NHS podiatry support workforce and foot health practitioners can safely perform. The needs and safety of patients is central in this work. Employers and managers can use the Standards to effectively plan, develop, and deploy their support workforce.
From our work with support workers and services across the country we know there is wide variation in their education and training, and how they are deployed. This work will ensure that:
- Patients and service users have access to skilled and consistently well-trained support workers who have a defined role within their team
- Support workers have access to development structures that provide opportunities to follow a richer and more rewarding career pathway
- Services can address the current variation in support worker roles, banding and progression
- Support worker roles can be at the heart of improvements in service delivery and transformation, including new models of care.
The main objective is to increase the supply into podiatry and ensure that the NHS recognises the knowledge and skills of the support workforce.
How to use the Standards
NHS managers can use the Standards to understand the treatments that different parts of their foot health support workforces can safely deliver. This will support them in ensuring that they have in place workforces with the skills mix they need to care for patients. This will help managers design services to meet increased patient demand.
Education providers can use the Standards to underpin the development of educational pathways into the NHS podiatry support workforce and onto pre-registration education and training programmes in podiatry. This will support the development and growth of the support and podiatrist workforces.
The development of the Standards was overseen by a Consortium of Foot Health Leaders who gathered to address the problem of the falling recruitment numbers on traditional routes into podiatry. The priority of the Consortium was to develop a foot health career ladder and educational resources that will support and increase the number of podiatrists and podiatry support workers working in the NHS.
The work of the Consortium has enabled a better understanding of the workforce that provides foot care, with the aim of optimising this workforce for the benefit of those who use the services of any practitioner, in England, who works in this arena.
Click here to read the Standards for the Foot Health Workforce
Click here to read the Consultation Analysis