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About the Education and Training Standards for the Foot Health Workforce​

A podiatry career development pathway can enable employers, networks, integrated care systems (ICSs) and services effectively plan, develop, and deploy their podiatry support workforce. The podiatry support workforce plays a key role in delivering safe and effective care for service users across health and care. ​

We need to ensure that our podiatry support workforce have the right knowledge and skills, are supported by training and education, and have access to opportunities for career progression. This will ensure that patients, service users and their families and carers have access to a skilled and well-trained workforce.

The Standards are intended to support the NHS in utilising the full skills mix of the Podiatry support workforce, to meet demand, by creating a clear understanding of the foot care treatments that the podiatry support workforce can safely perform. The needs and safety of patients is central to this work.

To facilitate greater skill mix within the NHS support workforce, Health Education England (HEE), between 2019 and 2021, commissioned the development of threshold clinical and education standards that all newly qualified foot health practitioners (FHPs), foot care assistants (FCAs), podiatry assistants and assistant practitioners in podiatry (APs) should meet.


How do the Standards benefit the NHS podiatry support workforce

  • The Standards were developed specifically as part of work that 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 podiatry workforce, helping to recognise the valuable role that Podiatry support workers provide in delivering podiatry services.
  • Employers and managers can use the Standards to effectively plan, develop, and deploy their Podiatry support workforce.​ For more information on developing your podiatry services see the NHS employer guide to podiatry
  • Implementation of the Standards by employers will ensure that podiatry support workers can achieve standardised levels of competency and access relevant training and development. Their roles will then become more consistent across England, ensuring that service users receive high quality care.

This link takes you to the final version of the published Standards


Podiatry Support Workers

  • Provide a vital role in delivering safe and effective patient facing care across clinical podiatry services.
  • Work with registered staff, working under the delegation and supervision of a Podiatrist and within the scope set out in the standards for the foot health workforce.
  • Deliver benefits for services and their users​.


AHP Support worker framework​

Underpinning the implementation of the Standards for the Foot Health Workforce are a range of resources and frameworks produced by AHPs for AHPs​

NHS England have published AHP Support Worker Competency, Education and Career Development Framework. ​ The Framework provides guidance on training, education and competencies for AHP support workers employed in NHS services and NHS funded services. It supports education providers to plan and deliver accredited education, and ICSs to take a coordinated approach.  

​NHS England have also curated resources to support the implementation of the framework for support workers ​


Benefits of a quality support workforce in clinical settings​

  • Reduced waiting lists​.
  • Improved retention​.
  • High quality care​.
  • Continuity of care​.
  • Diverse workforce representative of the population it serves​.
  • Developing SW via apprenticeship routes can help employers become more accessible and inclusive.
  • Increased job satisfaction / Health and Wellbeing​.
  • Opportunities for support workers for progression​.
  • Secures- sustainable future workforce supply​.
  • HCPC regulated podiatrists able to diversify.
  • Part of a strategic workforce plan.