[Skip to content]

Emma Savage's RTP story

Emma Savage's RTP story

Emma Savage worked for five years as a podiatrist before moving into commissioning roles within the NHS. 19 years later she felt she wanted to make a more direct impact on patients, so applied to re-register with the HCPC.

"I completed my training in Eastbourne, Brighton University in 1990. 

"I left my NHS podiatry post in 1995. I worked as a senior 1 podiatrist in London at the time and was the high risk co-ordinator seeing patients with diabetes, rheumatoid conditions and HIV/AIDS. I also ran a clinic for the homeless. At the time (pre-Agenda for Change) there was no career progression. The Community NHS Trust where I worked phased out Heads of Podiatry and introduced Locality Managers, so a senior 1 was as far as you could go. There was also no recognition for a clinical specialism. Mine was rheumatology and I was part of a MDT at Charing Cross Hospital.  

"My husband got a job in south Devon where there were no senior roles available at the time, so I applied for other non-clinical roles in the NHS.

"Today I lead on diabetes in a CCG and this has renewed my clinical interest in podiatry. I set a goal for my 50th year to regain my clinical registration. After 19 years of working in commissioning roles I sometimes get disillusioned into the difference we are making to patients. Assessing and treating patients again has rejuvenated my enthusiasm that we are making a difference to patient care.  

"I approached the Head of Podiatry at Gloucestershire Care Services, a community NHS provider who I work closely with in my current CCG role. They set me up with an honorary contract and my CCG supported me by giving me a day a month for clinical work. I used annual leave to make up the rest of my supervised clinical days (20 days in total). It took me 7 months to complete my 20 days supervised clinical practice, 20 days formal and 20 days private study. It was a lot of work on top of a full time job but worth it! I used my current role to count towards the formal and informal study i.e. diabetes meetings, conferences, etc 

"I thoroughly enjoyed the RTP process and found it really rewarding to see patients again! I also lead on self care and prevention and could see the opportunities our programmes could have to make a difference to patient’s lives. I feel it has made me a better commissioner

"I still work at the CCG and am looking to spend a day a week seeing patients, as I feel this would give me the balance I need to complement my commissioning role. 

"My advice to anyone thinking of RTP would be to have a preliminary discussion with your head of podiatry. It’s good to have one podiatrist who is assigned to support you. You build up a good rapport this way and they can see you develop over time. If you are already working in another NHS role, use your mandatory training and any on-line training to count towards your formal study. I have developed a good list of resources and used to listen to podcasts whilst driving or walking the dogs to make best use of my time. 

"Lastly, podiatry has really developed over the last 20 years and it really is the top of its game. The patients are really complex, so your clinical skills and knowledge are challenged, in a positive way!"