PAA: Saving the Pedorthics program

The Pedorthics program at Southern Cross University (SCU), Australia, which was launched only a few years ago, is to be discontinued under the university's current plans. The Pedorthic Association of Australia (PAA) is seeking support to preserve this important program for the education and advancement of the profession.

“Pedorthists are experts in customised footwear and lower limb orthoses, playing a crucial role in multi-disciplinary health care teams managing diabetes-related foot disease (DFD) and foot pain management, reducing falls risk in vulnerable people, and improving access, mobility and participation for people with disability”, the PAA writes on its website. For that reason, PAA says, it would be wrong to discontinue the program.

Certified Pedorthist Custom Makers have only recently been formally recognised as allied health professionals by Allied Health Professions Australia (AHPA). Closure of the SCU course would mean, that there will no longer be a pathway to become a Certified Pedorthist Custom Maker in this country. The Bachelor of Pedorthics is the only Pedorthic program in Australia and SCU is the sole provider of the national skill base for Pedorthists. “University-level education is necessary to produce practitioners skilled in patient-centred, evidence-based health care”, the PAA emphasizes.

PAA has already taken numerous initiatives to preserve the program. It has made formal submissions to the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE), the Commonwealth and State Chief Allied Health Officers (CAHO), and relevant Members of Parliament.

Together with the other Allied Health Profession in Australia, the PAA has drafted a joint statement highlighting the consequences for health care if the profession is denied the basis for qualified training. Pedorthists would play a crucial role not only in the treatment of diabetic foot syndrome, but also in all other foot problems that limit people's health in Australia. Certified prosthetists would provide preventive, useful and cost-effective health care, and there is an obvious need for their unique skills and services.In order to be able to offer qualified help also to people in rural areas, more rather than fewer pedorthists are needed in the future.

In addition to the joint statement from the health professions, the PAA has already received a lot of support from clinics, doctors and universities, who have expressed their solidarity with the PAA's cause. Those interested in learning more about the campaign to save the degree program can find the details on the Pedorthic Association of Australia's website.