Australia: Bachelor of Pedorthics program will be closed

On 31 January, the Pedorthic Association of Australia (PAA) received the profoundly disappointing news that the Department of Education, in consultation with the Department of Health, has approved Southern Cross University’s (SCU) request to close its Pedorthics and Podiatry programs.

PAA strongly disagrees with this extremely short-sighted decision. Closure of the Pedorthics program means there will no longer be a pathway to becoming a Certified Pedorthist Custom Maker in Australia, says the PAA. “It will halt the supply of a highly-skilled specialised workforce, compromise the future healthcare needs of Australians, and harm those most in need - people with disability, older Australians, First Nations communities, people living in rural, regional and remote areas, and those living with chronic diseases.”

Last year, the PAA launched a major campaign for the preservation of the program and received a lot of encouragement and support. Colleagues, physicians, scientists from within and outside Australia, and also other health care professions had spoken out in favor of preserving this course of study and had also addressed their concerns directly to the responsible authorities. “We wholeheartedly thank everyone who joined us to champion the cause and support our efforts”, PAA writes in a press release.

In the meantime, students currently enrolled in Pedorthics and Podiatry courses will complete their studies. SCU expects the teach-out to take approximately four years, commencing this year (2023). The PAA continues its Protect Pedorthics campaign and calls on educational providers and the federal government to help find viable solutions to this pressing problem facing pedorthics and those who need pedorthic care.