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Standards for podiatric surgery

Our expectations of education providers delivering training in podiatric surgery and of chiropodists / podiatrists who complete this training

These standards have two purposes.

  • They set out the systems and processes that an education provider delivering training in podiatric surgery must have in place in order to deliver the training safely and effectively.
  • They also set out the knowledge, understanding and skills that a registered chiropodist / podiatrist must have when they complete their podiatric surgery training and which they must continue to meet once in practice.

These standards are set at the threshold level we consider necessary to protect members of the public. We have numbered the standards so that you can refer to them more easily; however the standards are not hierarchical and are all equally important for practice.

Standards for education providers

  • A.1 The admissions procedures must give both the applicant and the education provider the information they require to make an informed choice about whether to take up or make an offer of a place on a programme.

    A.2 The admissions procedures must apply selection and entry criteria, including appropriate academic and professional entry standards.

    A.3 The admissions procedures must apply selection and entry criteria, including accreditation of prior (experiential) learning and other inclusion mechanisms.

    A.4 The admissions procedures must ensure that the education provider has equality and diversity policies in relation to applicants and trainees, together with an indication of how these
    will be implemented and monitored.

  • B.1 The programme must have a secure place in the education provider’s business plan.

    B.2 The programme must be effectively managed.

    B.3 The programme must have regular monitoring and evaluation systems in place.

    B.4 There must be a named person who has overall professional responsibility for the programme who must be appropriately qualified and experienced and, unless other arrangements are agreed, be on a relevant part of the Register. 

    B.5 There must be an adequate number of appropriately qualified, experienced and, where required, registered staff in place to deliver an effective programme.

    B.6 Training must be delivered by staff with relevant specialist expertise and knowledge.

    B.7 A programme for staff development must be in place to ensure continuing professional and research development.

    B.8 The resources to support trainee learning in all settings must be effectively used.

    B.9 The resources to support trainee learning in all settings must effectively support the required learning and teaching activities of the programme.

    B.10 The learning resources, including IT facilities, must be appropriate to the curriculum and readily available to trainees and staff.

    B.11 There must be adequate and accessible facilities to support the welfare and wellbeing of trainees in all settings.

    B.12 There must be a system of academic and pastoral trainee support in place.

    B.13 There must be a trainee complaints process in place.

    B.14 Where trainees participate as service users in practical and clinical teaching, appropriate protocols must be used to obtain their consent.

    B.15 Throughout the course of the programme, the education provider must have identified any mandatory components and must have associated monitoring mechanisms in place.

    B.16 Service users and carers must be involved in the programme.

  • C.1 The learning outcomes must ensure that those who successfully complete the programme meet the standards for podiatrists practising podiatric surgery.

    C.2 The programme must reflect the philosophy, core values, skills and knowledge base as articulated in any relevant curriculum guidance.

    C.3 Integration of theory and practice must be central to the curriculum.

    C.4 The curriculum must remain relevant to current practice.

    C.5 The curriculum must make sure that trainees understand the implications of the HCPC’s standards of conduct, performance and ethics on their podiatric surgery practice.

    C.6 The delivery of the programme must support and develop autonomous and reflective thinking.

    C.7 The delivery of the programme must encourage evidence based practice.

    C.8 The range of learning and teaching approaches used must be appropriate to the effective delivery of the curriculum.

    C.9 When there is interprofessional learning the profession-specific skills and knowledge of each professional group must be adequately identified and addressed.

  • D.1 Practice placements must be integral to the programme.

    D.2 The number, duration and range of practice placements must be appropriate to support the delivery of the programme and the achievement of the learning outcomes.

    D.3 The practice placements must provide a safe and supportive environment.

    D.4 The education provider must maintain a thorough and effective system for approving and monitoring all practice placements.

    D.5 There must be an adequate number of appropriately qualified, experienced and, where required, registered staff in the practice placements.

    D.6 The clinical supervisor must have relevant knowledge, skills and experience.

    D.7 The clinical supervisor must undertake appropriate educator training.

    D.8 The clinical supervisor must be appropriately registered.

    D.9 There must be regular and effective collaboration between the education provider and the practice placement provider.

    D.10 Trainees and clinical supervisors must be fully prepared for the practice placement environment which will include information about:

    – the learning outcomes to be achieved;
    – the timings and the duration of the experience and associated records to be maintained;
    – expectations of professional conduct;
    – the professional standards which trainees must meet;
    – the assessment procedures including the implications of, and any action to be taken in the case of, failure to progress; and
    – communication and lines of responsibility.

    D.11 Learning, teaching and supervision must encourage safe and effective practice, independent learning and professional conduct.

    D.12 A range of learning and teaching methods that respect the rights and needs of service users and colleagues must be in place in the approved clinical learning environment.

  • E.1 The assessment strategy and design must ensure that the trainee who successfully completes the programme has met the standards for podiatrists practising podiatric surgery.

    E.2 All assessments must provide a rigorous and effective process by which compliance with external-reference frameworks can be measured.

    E.3 Professional standards must be integral to the assessment procedures in both the education setting and practice placement setting.

    E.4 Assessment methods must be employed that measure the learning outcomes.

    E.5 The measurement of trainee performance must be objective and ensure safe and effective podiatric surgery practice.

    E.6 There must be effective monitoring and evaluation mechanisms in place to ensure appropriate standards in the assessment.

    E.7 Assessment regulations must clearly specify requirements for trainee progression and achievement within the programme.

    E.8 Assessment regulations, or other relevant policies, must clearly specify requirements for approved programmes being the only programmes which contain any reference to an HCPC-protected title or part of the Register in their named award.

    E.9 Assessment regulations must clearly specify requirements for a procedure for the right of appeal for trainees. 

    E.10 Assessment regulations must clearly specify requirements for the appointment of at least one external examiner who must be appropriately experienced and qualified and, unless other arrangements are agreed, be from a relevant part of the Register.

Standards for podiatrists

  • Registrants must:

    1.1 be able to undertake a thorough, sensitive, relevant and detailed patient history

    1.2 be able to assess and initiate the appropriate investigation and management of conditions requiring podiatric surgery treatment

    1.3 be able to order and interpret appropriate clinical investigations to develop a diagnosis and manage the patient throughout their podiatric surgery treatment

    1.4 be able to develop, monitor, review, modify and evaluate an appropriate surgical care plan

    1.5 be able to undertake a thorough and detailed assessment of the foot and lower limb and use that assessment to determine a patient’s options for treatment

    1.6 be able to communicate clearly with patients, and others involved in their care, information about the treatment provided, including about the risks of any procedure and complications which may arise

    1.7 be able to gain informed consent to carry out a surgical intervention on the foot and associated structures and record appropriately

    1.8 understand anatomy in the context of podiatric surgery and how surgical intervention can impact on human locomotion

    1.9 be able to manage a patient’s pharmacological needs safely and to recognise and respond to complications arising from drug administration

    1.10 understand the need to establish and maintain a safe surgical environment, including the need to maintain a sterile environment, and be able to apply in surgical practice

    1.11 be able to undertake a range of surgical techniques within the foot and associated structures including the following.

    – Application and monitoring of a tourniquet
    – Skin incisions and closure
    – Tissue handling
    – Haemostasis
    – Dissection
    – Excision of bony prominences
    – Osteotomy
    – Arthrodesis
    – Arthroplasty
    – Digital correction
    – Soft tissue excisions, correction and skin flaps

    1.12 be able to undertake appropriate post-operative monitoring, evaluation and management of the patient

    1.13 be able to identify common post-operative complications and respond appropriately

    1.14 be able to practise in accordance with current legislation governing the use of ionising and non-ionising radiation for medical and other purposes

    1.15 be able to keep accurate, comprehensive and comprehensible records of a surgical intervention in accordance with applicable legislation, protocols and guidelines

    1.16 be able to monitor and evaluate the quality of podiatric surgery practice and use that evaluation to improve practice

    1.17 understand the importance of participation in training, supervision and mentoring

    1.18 understand the role of the podiatrist practising podiatric surgery within a multi-disciplinary team

    1.19 be able to use immediate life support and deal with clinical emergencies safely


About podiatric surgery

Podiatric surgery is the surgical management of the bones, joints and soft tissues of the foot and associated structures. The conditions treated can include problems caused by bunions, arthritis, toe deformities and inflammation of the tissues of the foot.

We use the term ‘podiatrist practising podiatric surgery’ to describe a registered chiropodist / podiatrist who has completed a qualification in podiatric surgical practice and whose entry is annotated on the HCPC Register.

We will assess podiatric surgery education and training programmes against the standards set out in the first part of this document. If a programme meets the standards we will grant open-ended approval, subject to on-going monitoring.

We will also take into account the standards in the second part of this document when  considering concerns raised about the competence of a podiatrist practising podiatric surgery

These standards are set at the threshold level to ensure that podiatrists practising podiatric surgery have the knowledge, understanding and skills which are necessary for safe and effective podiatric surgery practice. It is important that you meet our standards and are able to practise lawfully, safely and effectively. However we do not dictate how you should meet our standards. This is because there is normally more than one way in which each standard can be met, and the way in which you meet our standards might change over time because of changes in technology or changes to your practice.

The standards set out in this document complement information and guidance issued by other organisations, such as professional bodies. In addition, these standards do not replace the other
standards we set for registrants and you will need to draw on those to support your wider practice beyond podiatric surgery. We expect you to continue to keep to the HCPC standards of proficiency for chiropodists / podiatrists; standards of conduct, performance and ethics; and standards for continuing professional development. 

We recognise that podiatrists practising podiatric surgery work and undertake training in a range of different settings. We have tried to use language that takes account of this variation; however the terms you use will depend to a certain extent on how and where you work.

We have included a glossary of some of the terms used in the standards below.


  • The surgical fixation of a joint to promote bone fusion, in order to relieve intractable pain in the joint.

  • A surgical procedure to restore the integrity and function of a joint, through resurfacing of the bones of the joint or use of an artificial joint.

  • Cutting apart or separating of tissue during a surgical procedure.

  • Cutting out or removal, eg of tissue or bone.

  • The deliberate stoppage of blood flow during surgery, for example using chemical or physical agents.

  • A surgical cut made in skin or flesh.

  • A surgical operation whereby a bone is cut to shorten, lengthen, or change its alignment.

  • The surgical management of the bones, joints and soft tissues of the foot and associated structures.

  • A constricting device used to temporarily restrict blood flow to a limb or extremity.

Questions about the standards

If you are unsure how to interpret these standards, then you should write to, or email the Education department at the following address:

Education Department
Health and Care Professions Council
184 - 186 Kennington Park Road
London SE11 4BU

Page updated on: 14/06/2018