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Volume 474: debated on Wednesday 2 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment he has made of the merits of the development of a national service framework for podiatry services; (197255)

(2) what podiatry services are provided free at the point of delivery; and for which groups such services are provided;

(3) under what circumstances podiatry services are provided by (a) a foot health practitioner and (b) a regulated chiropodist or podiatrist.

No assessment has been carried out centrally. Guidance for access to foot care services is included in the national service frameworks for older people, diabetes, and long-term conditions, and the “White Paper Our health, our care, our say: a new direction for community services”.

All national health service podiatry services are provided free of charge on the basis of assessed clinical need. It is for primary care trusts in partnership with local stakeholders, including practice based commissioners, local government and the public to determine how best to use their funds to meet national and local priorities for improving health and to commission services accordingly. This process provides the means for addressing local needs within the health community including the provision of podiatry services.

A foot health practitioner can only provide podiatry services if they are a registered podiatrist. The titles podiatrist and chiropodist are protected by law. Anyone using these titles must be registered with the Health Professions Council. It is also an offence to imply that someone is one of these professions, for example by stating that they provide podiatry services when they are not on the register.