Yes – all podiatrists are trained in the use of local anaesthetic and scalpel blade techniques. However, most podiatrists will only perform surgery of the nails and skin, such as ingrown toenails and excision of plantar warts. Nationally, there are 35 specialist podiatric surgeons and Dr Kim is the only one of podiatric surgeons in Queensland – who is registered to be able to perform more advanced surgery.
TRAINING OF PODIATRIC SURGEONS IN AUSTRALIA
Podiatric surgery is a specialist field in the podiatry profession involving the surgical treatment of conditions affecting the foot, ankle and related lower extremity structures.
Specialist training programs in podiatric surgery take 3 years of full-time equivalent work to complete. Prior to applying for a surgical training position, a practitioner must have completed a Bachelor’s degree (or higher) in podiatric medicine and must be registered as a podiatrist with the Podiatry Board of Australia. After 2 years of working in general practice, podiatrists who meet the eligibility requirements are then able to apply for entry into a surgical training course.
The selection process for a training position is competitive and there are only several new positions availability nationally each year. At present time, the total number of podiatric surgeons registered nationally (35) proportionally accounts for less than 1% of the total population of registered podiatrists practising in Australia (~5000).
The title of the podiatric surgeon is protected in Australia under the National Law, and podiatric surgeons are recognised as registered specialists by the Australian Health Practitioner Registration Agency (AHPRA) in the same light as medical specialists and dental specialists. In order to practise as a podiatric surgeon in Australia practitioners must meet registration standards as defined by the National Law and the Podiatry Board of Australia. A copy of the current registration standards can be found here.
Training programs to become a podiatric surgeon in Australia are assessed and accredited by an independent organisation named the Australian and New Zealand Podiatry Accreditation Council (ANZPAC). The Doctor of Clinical Podiatry degree provided through the School of Surgery at The University of Western Australia is an approved program of study to become a podiatric surgeon in Australia.
- By –Dr Ji Soo Kim