The role of the podiatrist in primary care

Podiatrists are the experts in all aspects of foot and lower limb structure, function and health. They are highly skilled health care professionals trained to diagnose, treat, rehabilitate and prevent disease and complications of the feet, ankles and lower limbs. They can prevent and manage foot problems, relieve pain, treat infection and support foot irregularities, to keep people of all ages mobile and active.

Podiatrists are ideally placed to use their expertise in primary care settings by developing and embedding services that extend the ability of GPs and primary care teams to provide a focus on prevention and early intervention.

Key skills of the podiatrist working in primary care

These include:

  • Diagnosis of new lower limb problems
  • Diagnosis, monitoring, and management of systemic disease, that manifests within the lower limb
  • Oversight of multi-disciplinary team management of the foot at risk of chronic disease complication or amputation
  • Oversight of personalised care planning for people living with long term conditions affecting the lower limb
  • Promotion of health and wellbeing, including signposting as appropriate, to support walking (physical activity), working, and wellbeing
  • Leadership of multi-disciplinary team prevention and management pathways, coordinated through primary care, primarily impacting the lower limb.
See also: Where does first contact podiatry fit into primary care

Download our flyer showing the role of podiatrists within primary care


First Contact Practitioners and Advanced Practioners - Roadmaps to practice

The First Contact Practitioners (FCP) and Advanced Practitioners in Primary Care: Roadmaps to Practice are supportive documents that describe an educational pathway from undergraduate to advanced clinical practice in primary care.

Template: FCP podiatry job description

This job description provides examples of how podiatrist roles have previously been recruited, working models and specialities, at Agenda for Change indicative Band 7. Download the job description 

Policy position 

Download the Royal College of Podiatry's (RCPod's) policy position: Podiatrists as first point of contact practitioners

Survey of first contact podiatrists

A survey of first contact podiatrists was carried out in 2022 by Dr Jill Halstead, focusing on their training, scope of practice and the impact of the ARRS roles within Primary Care. Read the report here

Next steps for integrating primary care: Fuller stocktake report

This is the final report, published 26 May 2022, of the stocktake undertaken by Dr Claire Fuller, Chief Executive-designate, Surrey Heartlands Integrated Care System and GP on integrated care, looking at what is working well, why it's working well and how we can accelerate the implementation of integrated primary care (incorporating the current four pillars of general practice, community pharmacy, dentistry and optometry) across systems. Download the report

Integrating additional roles into primary care networks

The Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS) was introduced in England in 2019 as a key part of the government’s manifesto commitment to improve access to general practice. The aim of the scheme is to support the recruitment of 26,000 additional staff into general practice. The King’s Fund take a look at the opportunities and challenges. Download Integrating additional roles into primary care networks

Explanation of Primary Care networks

Primary Care Networks build on existing primary care services and enable greater provision of proactive, personalised, coordinated and more integrated health and social care for people close to home. Clinicians describe this as a change from reactively providing appointments to proactively caring for the people and communities they serve. Find out more