Investigation into podiatry an important example of the importance of healthcare regulation and quality controls

14 December 2023

In a recently-published article in The Age, Health Minister Mark Butler expressed concern over revelations regarding podiatric surgery standards, underscoring the critical importance of robust healthcare regulation and quality controls. This holds a lesson for all self-regulating health professions.

Unlike PACFA members, Podiatrists are registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Agency however the article explores allegations that patients have suffered poor outcomes as a result of training which is both accredited and provided by the Australasian College of Podiatric Surgeons (ACPS). This potential conflict of interest is a key concern for self-regulating health professions like Counselling and Psychotherapy. In addition, the article discusses community confusion around the titles of Podiatric Surgeons and Orthopaedic Surgeons, and the exhaustive evidence-based process undertaken for health professions seeking Medicare funding.

Health Minister Butler's announcement of a Podiatry Board of Australia review into the sector emphasises the comprehensive evaluation of qualifications, training, and title understanding. This underscores the importance of PACFA’s role protecting the profession through robust organisational governance, comprehensive grievance processes and continued advocacy for best practice training. This work will be advanced in the National Standards for Counselling and Psychotherapy project in 2024.  

The ongoing challenges faced by podiatric surgeons in gaining Medicare support prompt reflection on the broader implications for patient care and the integrity of the health and allied health profession. PACFA is committed to ensuring our members are able to meet stakeholder expectations to ensure the workforce can be fully utilised and will continue to monitor this discussion and its outcomes.

Read The Age article here.