A year ago, HCPC announced that it was opening the podiatric surgery annotation for registered podiatrists. The annotation indicates that a podiatrist has undertaken HCPC approved training or had their experience endorsed through an HCPC approved course. The move was an important step for improving public safety and provided formal recognition of this specialism within the podiatry profession.
Clearly, the announcement came before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, and so it is even more remarkable that we have continued to make progress with this important work. It is a testament to the hard work of our registrants that podiatrists have been able to complete qualifications to receive the annotation, whilst boosting health and care service in the fight against COVID-19.
Podiatric surgery reached a big milestone in September 2020, when the first set of podiatry surgery annotations were added to the HCPC Register. The annotation is not only a reflection of advancement in their clinical practice but it shows that these trained professionals have the right proficiency and expertise to provide a safe service to the public. This formally recognises the skills and training of over 70 individuals on our register, and assures patients and service users that their podiatrist meets our Standards. We expect to see the current number of individuals on our register with the annotation increase as the remaining workforce complete the annotation route and as new graduates complete postgraduate programmes across the UK.
To gain the HCPC annotation, podiatrists already practising podiatric surgery undertook the HCPC Annotation Process as a Podiatrist Practising Podiatric Surgery programme at The University of Huddersfield in order to demonstrate that they are meeting the HCPC standards of proficiency. The twelve-week distance education module starts four times a year, allowing podiatrists to fit the programme in at a time most convenient to them.
As we said at the time of the introduction of this annotation, podiatrists already practising podiatric surgery may continue to do so, but the annotation provides formal recognition of their skills by the HCPC and provides assurance to the public that their podiatrist meets the standards. As a podiatrist, I hope that many more in our profession will continue to sign up to the Podiatric Surgery programme, enabling them to care for more patients and treat complex cases. Most employers only employ podiatrists with the annotation if they are practising podiatric surgery. Employers have a responsibility to do this as a pre-requisite within the health service and we continue to emphasise the importance of this.
Meet some of our registered podiatrists with the podiatric surgery annotation
Lorna Donson, registered podiatrist with the podiatric surgery annotation and newly appointed HCPC visitor
“I qualified as a Podiatric surgeon in 2011. I undertook the annotation process last year. After many years of collaboration with the HCPC and the faculty of podiatric surgery, to finally see our speciality annotated on the HCPC register feels like a great achievement for the profession. I think it is such an important step forward, to not only have the hard work and studying it takes to become a podiatric surgeon recognised but also and perhaps more importantly, to give our patients confidence that when they search the register they can ensure that the person treating them has fulfilled the standards of competence and proficiency as set out by the HCPC. I would encourage any fellows practicing podiatric surgery to complete the annotation process.”
Matthew Rothwell - registered podiatrist with the podiatric surgery annotation and newly appointed HCPC visitor
“I enrolled upon, and gained HCPC annotation in podiatric surgery as soon as the programme opened. The annotation process involved compiling a portfolio of evidence to demonstrate that my practice meets the HCPC standards for podiatric surgery.
“Annotation was important to me as it helps to ensure protection of the public, having the podiatric surgery annotation next to my name on the register is useful for prospective patients as they can see, at a glance, that I meet the standards set out by the professions regulator. I would encourage all Podiatric Surgeons to undertake the annotation programme, as it is an enjoyable CPD activity and demonstrates to the public that you meet quality assurance standards.”