05 Oct 2023
The Podiatry Board of Australia has launched an independent review of the regulation of podiatric surgeons.
While podiatric surgeons are a small sector of the profession (41 currently hold specialist registration which is only 0.7% of the entire profession) they have a much higher rate of notifications than podiatrists.
‘Public safety is our priority. In light of some of the complaints the Board has received, we want to be sure that patients are receiving good information and appropriate care from podiatric surgeons,’ Board Chair, Cylie Williams, said.
‘We’ve called for this review to get a full picture of the situation and what might be needed to reduce any risks of harm,’ she added.
The Independent review of the regulation of podiatric surgeons will look at the current regulatory framework and current risks to patient safety in podiatric surgery, to identify any areas that need improving. This may include changes to professional and education standards, professional capabilities, the methods for assessing notifications about podiatric surgeons and the management of advertising offences.
Professor Ron Paterson will lead the review. He is Emeritus Professor of Law at the University of Auckland and Senior Fellow at Melbourne Law School and previously held the positions of New Zealand Health and Disability Commissioner and New Zealand Parliamentary Ombudsman. He is a recognised international expert on patients’ rights, complaints, safety and quality and the regulation of health professions.
‘Regulation only works if it is fit for purpose. I’m keen to have a close look at current practice in regulating podiatric surgeons in Australia, to see if any changes are needed to better protect patients,’ Professor Paterson said.
The review expects to open for public submissions later this month with a final report and recommendations due early next year.
Since 1 July 2010, specialist registration for the podiatry specialty of podiatric surgery has operated nationally, with the specialist title of ‘podiatric surgeon’. 18 podiatric surgeons transitioned under the National Law to the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (national scheme) with specialist registration or were granted specialist registration in the first year of the scheme.
Currently there are 41 podiatric surgeons with specialist registration, which represents 0.7% of the podiatry profession. Podiatric surgeons primarily work in private practice, and in private hospitals and day procedure centres.