Standards for the Foot Health Workforce

Health Education England is launching the 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:

  1. Patients and service users have access to skilled and consistently well-trained support workers who have a defined role within their team
  2. support workers have access to development structures that provide opportunities to follow a richer and more rewarding career pathway
  3. services can address the current variation in support worker roles, banding and progression
  4. 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 workforce

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 work in this arena.

To view the standards visit Standards for the Foot Health Workforce | Health Education England (

Whilst the Coronavirus pandemic has changed the ways  in which we are all working, or not in many cases, people around the world are embracing and testing boundaries of modern technology. This is also true of our team at Head Office. As always the IOCP are committed to maintaining and offering our members the best possible service and support until such a time that we can start to go back to normal.

Therefore we have launched weekly Wednesday webinars, aptly dubbed “Wed-inars” to keep members and fellow podiatry colleagues in-touch and earning CPD during our period of downtime. It’s FREE, it’s for YOU!

Our first webinar was held on the 1st April and was warmly received by all attendees. If you missed it, a recording of the meeting can be found via our events pages or via our social sites.

The subjects are added to our events calendar on our website. You can register either via our Facebook page or by emailing with the subject line “Wed-inar CPD”.

From the 17th April, we will be introducing FHP Fridays for our Foot Health Practitioner friends of The College of Foot Health. More details of these will be released shortly.

If you are a Podiatrist or a FHP and would like a specific topic covered please get in touch and we’ll see what we can do!

Stay Safe.

Open Letter to: The Rt Hon Matt Hancock, MP; Edward Argar, MP; Jo Churchill, MP; Helen Whately, MP; Nadine Dorries, MP; John Barwick, Chief Executive, HCPC; Christine Elliott, Chair HCPC; Suzanne Rastrick, Chief Allied Health Professions Officer, NHS England; Beverley Harden, Health Education England


Dear Colleague

May I first express the hope that you and your family are keeping well in this challenging time.

I am writing on behalf of the membership of the Institute of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, but this is a matter that must be of concern to all registered podiatrists, hence the open letter.

Podiatry is a small, yet absolutely vital profession, more so than ever due to our ageing population and the consequent requirement for effective, medically valid care and treatment of the nation’s feet.  I do know from my own work on various projects for the Department of Health, that a minimum of 50%, perhaps more, of podiatry care is delivered through private practice and it is this area that I would like to draw your attention to at this time.

I know that I speak for my profession, when I say that we fully appreciate and  understand that scarce resources must be initially targeted at defeating Covid-19 by supplying front line medical staff with the tools  to permit them to perform their wonderful, challenging, and may I say exceptionally brave efforts. However, we also have to plan for the future of services such as podiatry, because  if that service fails it compromises the foot (and therefore general) health of diabetics, the frail and elderly and even the fit and well who may develop acute foot problems.

As private practices are businesses, they are at very real danger of failing due to lack of income, and whilst the governments initiatives may help individuals, the effect on such private podiatry practices with the continuing overheads such businesses have, may be irredeemable, not least additionally due to permanently losing clients in situations where practices are closed for extended periods. Accordingly, I am requesting that the private practitioner is not left out of consideration of being offered services such as virus testing and other support in a timely manner, which may assist individual practitioners in getting back to work safeguarding feet as soon as safely and ethically possible.

I would also highlight the number of HCPC registered private podiatry practitioners who have responded to the call for assistance to the NHS and hope that we have an opportunity to use our professional skills effectively. Given the substantial experience that we have with the elderly and similar ‘at risk’ groups, perhaps a consideration and discussion of how best to use the resource of private podiatry as a whole to maximum effect is worthwhile.

My best wishes for your continued health, yours sincerely,

Martin Harvey, FPodM, PGC, BSc

HCPC Registered Podiatrist Independent Prescriber

Chair of Executive Council, Institute of Chiropodists and Podiatrists



Response: John Barwick, Chief Executive & Registrar HCPC 

HCPC response to open letter