FOOT HEALTH PRACTITIONERS
As a FOOT HEALTH PRACTITIONER working in and around Woodhall Spa and surrounding areas, I sometimes get asked what the difference is between a Chiropodist or Podiatrist and where does a Foot Health Practitioner fit in?
Until the 1990’s all practitioners were called Chiropodists or Podiatrists no matter where trained. When the Podiatry and Chiropody Degrees were brought in and the titles of Podiatrist and Chiropodist became 'protected'. Newly degree-qualified practitioners were allowed to use those two titles, or practitioners could be 'grandfathered' in. To be grandfathered in, a practitioner had to have been qualified through an HPC approved school and have been in practice for a minimum of 2 years. All other practitioners and those qualifying through a non-degree route are unable to use those two protected titles and so the Foot Health Practitioner was born.
A FHP is qualified and insured to do all the essential maintenance including nail cutting, hard skin removal (callus), corns and verrucas, in-growing nail and general maintenance for people with Diabetes.
There are many foot treatments that are often unavailable on the NHS, but you have the option of asking a private Chiropodist/Podiatrist or FHP to assess and treat your feet either within a clinic or, as with me, by having a home visit from a mobile clinic. This is a good choice for those who are unable to travel or simply would like the Practitioner to come to them to treat them in the comfort of their own home.
There are a number of colleges training FHPs to similar levels and, unfortunately, some training to a much lower level. I studied at The SMAE Institute, a nationally renowned establishment since 1919. This involved a 12 module Diploma usually completed over a year with Degree level written assignments at the end of each module. It is the only University accredited Foot Health course in the UK. The course covers the entire anatomical and physiological aspects of the body before concentrating on the lower legs and feet, nail and skin conditions and related diseases. Infection detection and prevention as well as Diabetic foot care is focused on and this plays a major part in patient care on a daily basis.
On successfully passing the theory modules a two week intense practical course is attended, where students work alongside tutors in the Institute’s clinic. Once the required standards are achieved, the student is eligible for Membership of the College of Foot Health Professionals (MCFHP) and Membership of the British Association of Foot Health Professionals (MAFHP).
This training allows the FHP to carry out assessments of circulation and nerves in the lower legs and feet, detect abnormalities, cut finger and toenails, nail thinning, treat fungal infections, remove corns and hard skin, prevent and treat minor ingrowing toenails, treat diabetic foot conditions and give advice in all areas.