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Podiatric Surgery Training Programme

Podiatric Surgery Training Programme

The podiatric surgery Masters modules remain exciting and useful to podiatrists, both working in the NHS and in private practice, and the knowledge gained has clinical value time and time again.  Two modules which stand the test of time include the anatomy module and the radiology module, invaluable for everyday practice at extended scope level. You don’t have to be intent on becoming a podiatric surgeon to extend your knowledge in this specialist field to enhance care for your patients and increase your knowledge of their many and varied foot pathologies.

There have been some exciting new developments with the podiatric surgery training programme in England and Wales, with the new training course being developed in partnership with the University of Huddersfield which will lead to annotation as a podiatrist practising podiatric surgery on the HCPC register on completion [1].

The academic requirement to be able to train as a podiatric surgeon is the MSc Theory in Podiatric Surgery qualification.  There are two MSc Theory courses running in the UK which allow podiatrists to apply for podiatric surgery training posts, Glasgow Caledonian University and the University of Huddersfield are both running the MSc Theory course and both are accredited by The College. Podiatrists who have previously completed the full MSc qualification at the University of Brighton will also be able to apply for podiatric surgery training.

Glasgow Caledonian/Queen Margaret Course

Mandy Abbott, the course lead at Glasgow Caledonian [2] states that the online basis of the MSc modules is great for those working or that live abroad, who want to prepare for the podiatric surgery training from a distance. Paul Lacovangelo is an Australian podiatrist located in Melbourne, he says 

“I completed my MSc Theory of Podiatric Surgery as an international part-time student, whilst residing in Australia. I found the course content to be challenging, but enjoyable and ultimately a very rewarding experience. The modules covered core areas relevant to the podiatry profession which expanded on my undergraduate knowledge. Online tutorials were arranged to accommodate students in each hemisphere, ensuring convenient evening sessions. This style of learning was an invaluable opportunity which enabled peer interaction and ensured minimal disruption to my full-time work schedule. Lectures were recorded and could be listened to in my own time and forums amongst peers could be posted throughout the week when convenient. Assignments could be easily submitted online and I had access to academic librarian support staff for assistance with these pieces. Furthermore, staff aided in organising exams and supervision requirements with local institutions within my vicinity. This course required only two weeks of direct attendance in Scotland. Meeting peers and academic staff in person was an enjoyable part of the program, which helped me to strengthen relationships and provide further networking opportunities with fellow podiatrists overseas.”

Zoë Wilson is a private practitioner currently studying on the course and she feels 

“as a private practice owner, the MSc programme at GCU has integrated exceptionally well into my busy lifestyle albeit the hard work and dedication coming from myself and commitment to succeeding throughout the modules and Dissertation. I have loved the variety, content, support and knowledge I have gained from starting the MSc back in 2015. I am now on the finishing straight in writing my 15,000 word dissertation to complete the programme. I would urge anyone with a keen interest in the field to speak with the friendly staff and module leaders at Glasgow who have made my time there a pleasure.”

The anatomy dissection module in Glasgow has been a firm favourite, even for those wishing to undertake one module at a time, or simply enhance their knowledge of anatomy for every day practice. Sharon Clee is a podiatric surgeon who lectures on this module, providing a hands on experience with cadavers, “there’s no better way than tracing the tendons and vessels from the origins to insertions in the foot and leg, to learn anatomy.”

Students are registered at both Glasgow Caledonian University and Queen Margaret University as the course has been run in collaboration between the two since 2004, and students can therefore access the resources from both universities.

University of Huddersfield Course

In England, the University of Huddersfield run a one year full time and a two year part-time route for this MSc in Theory of Podiatric Surgery course. On the full time route [3] students have a placement in a surgical unit for 15 weeks throughout the year. The modules on both routes are taught in blocks so students have to attend for 4, 3, or 2 days at a time depending on the modules. Andy Bridgen, the course leader, explains 

“the modules on the course are run and delivered by podiatric surgeons in current practice as well as the academic team and with keynote lectures from consultants in other medical specialities such as vascular and plastic surgery. There is involvement and investment from Industry for example, sawbones workshops for principles of small bone fixation. As well as having a rigorous theoretical component, practical hands on sessions are integrated into the course and its assessment strategy. The module assessment has been designed to complement the next steps in surgical training this best prepares our graduates for success in further training. As a consequence we have a great track record of our MSc graduates securing trainee posts and then fellowship via the College training system”.  James Craven, now a registered surgical trainee at a Sheffield NHS Trust says “The course was well structured and incorporated a number of modules designed to provide a foundation of surgical knowledge upon which to build. The course has provided me with the essential skills to specialise in my desired field and I would highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in this area.”

The course is not just for those interested in podiatric surgery, it enables podiatrists to develop the key skills required to order and interpret a range of clinical investigations and undertake a range of assessments, used in the diagnosis and management of foot and lower limb pathology.  This is particularly clinically relevant as Matthew Rothwell, an NHS podiatric surgeon and module leader, is a member of the course team. He “has found this to be useful for those pursuing a career in MSK and high risk foot [specialisms] as well as in elective surgery.  The course also covers in-depth anatomy of the foot as well as providing an opportunity for surgical dissection/prosection of the foot and lower limb. The course is an introduction to the complete surgical episode of care from pre-operative assessment to discharge, it includes peri-operative care, surgical technique and principles of bone fixation.”

On the part-time route [4], if a podiatrist is not working within a surgical team, the course team will help facilitate some observational placement experience. The course has been designed for those who want to advance all areas of their practice as well as those interested in pursuing further training in Podiatric surgery, with close links with the regional Deaneries and the committee for the Faculty of Podiatric surgery and is responsive to the needs of the profession and the practitioner.

Take home message

Completion of the MSc Theory of Podiatric Surgery course is now the academic pre-requisite to be able to apply for a podiatric surgery training post.  Available training posts in England are advertised on the www.jobs.nhs.uk website.

Suzanne Taylor
Dean of the Faculty of Podiatric Surgery

[1] Standards for podiatric surgery are available on the HCPC website:

[2] The Glasgow Caledonian MSc in Theory of Podiatric Surgery course details:

[3] The Huddersfield Full-time MSc Theory of Podiatric Surgery course details: 

[4] The Huddersfield Part-time MSc Theory of Podiatric Surgery course details:

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