Assistants Role within Private Practice
The assistant is employed to enhance the turnover of practice in the long term however this would generally require a substantial investment in the short term in both time and money for the podiatrist to train the assistant to the high standard required to treat fee paying clients.
The assistant practitioner is insured through the insurance of the podiatrist in charge. The podiatrist should ensure that they are happy with the assistant's level of competence. The assistant should know the limitations in their scope of practice as this could invalidate any insurance if not adhered to.
Generally a minimum of two clinical rooms are required for optimum benefits. This offers the potential for an independent foot care package which includes nail cutting/ reduction with burr and general superficial dry/ hard skin reduction with Moores disc. This service offers a safe alternative to elderly clients who no longer qualify for NHS treatment but can no longer manage their own feet and nails.
A second option would be to run a dual podiatry clinic where the assistant practitioner initially cuts and reduces nails before the podiatrist continues the treatment with scalpel debridement of corns and callus etc., thus increasing podiatry appointments within the practice.
As a third alternative a domiciliary nail care service could performed however risk and skill assessment by the podiatrist in charge should be a key factor in this decision due to insurance cover.
The assistant should also have the confidence to impart basic foot care and footwear knowledge on the clients enhancing their clinical experience.
There is no recognised scale of pay in the private sector however payment should reflect the assistant’s skill, popularity with clients and loyalty. It should also reflect the location, the acceptable fees for that area and the acceptable wage levels for that area.