Responses arising from the consultation demonstrated diverse and often opposing views on their development. Responses were varied with some hinting at tension and at times anger surrounding the development of the Standards while conversely some were supportive and encouraging. Thematic analysis was the chosen method of analysing this data (for further information see section 4.1). The responses in this data set did not directly respond to the 5 consultation questions (see section 3. Figure 1), and therefore a deductive analysis was not appropriate. The results have been captured by 3 thematic themes and 10 sub themes (see section 4.1. Figure 8).
Implementation of the Standards is the next natural step once the Standards are finalised. Implementation within an NHS setting should be relatively straightforward since the support infrastructure is already in place, established apprenticeship routes for support workers are evident and there are already examples within an NHS setting how the standards could assist with role diversification and skill mix.
To highlight some of this work already underway an infographic within the Standards consultation document was provided (see p.12 standards for the non–regulated foot health workforce).
Based on the evidence from the consultation responses further work is required and the following recommendations are suggested:
- Recommendation for HEE to work with colleagues to provide clear alignment of the Standards to existing apprenticeship programmes at level 3/5/6. Using the Standards to identify gaps in provision could help develop an apprenticeship route that would deliver profession specific content offering bespoke routes into the podiatry workforce.
- Recommendation that NHS implementation is undertaken with service leaders as part of wider NHS work across HEE and NHSEI to support services facing a 17% vacancy rate, as part of the wide suite of support activities.
- Recommendation for discussions to continue across the sector to explore how the Standards, once finalised, may be used, and implemented within the independent/private sector.
This could be achieved within the current structure of the Foot Health Consortium, or within an alternative structure. To take this work outside of the NHS and HEE, leadership within the sector would need to be created.
Additionally, based on the output from the consultation, and considering the strength of opinion on the topic, further work would be required to demonstrate that an acceptable level of governance and support could be provided to the independent sector.
- Recommendation that consideration is given to explore how support and governance arrangements for independent and NHS practice, could be more closely aligned.
- Recommendation for foot health leaders to consider how the standards could be utilised to aid standardisation of education and training of the non-regulated sector provided by the independent sector.