What is a Podiatrist?

A Podiatrist is a qualified professional who deals primarily with the foot and lower limb.

There is a general view among medical professionals that a Podiatrist only clips people’s toenails and nothing else. Whilst they can do this as well, they are trained to do so much more!

A Podiatrist’s primary aim is to improve the mobility, independence and quality of life of their patients. They specialise in the foot, ankle and leg, leading their patients through the whole journey of diagnosis, treatment and prevention.


What are the benefits of having a Podiatrist in the PCN?

  • check-iconNo longer waiting times to see an NHS Podiatrist in a hospital (in some areas of the country, the waiting times are up to 18 months for an initial appointment)
  • check-iconSeeing the right person at the right time, first time
  • check-iconLess likelihood of acute conditions becoming chronic (such as sores or infections)
  • check-iconImprovement of patient care, shorter lead time means that patients feel more positive and feel reassured as the Podiatrist can explain the condition in a way they can understand and design a clear way forward
  • check-iconThorough assessment, diagnosis and treatment of any conditions relating to the foot – typically these appointments last for at least twice as long as a GP appointment
  • check-iconEasier access to specialised knowledge
  • check-iconPodiatrists can do the regular Diabetic foot check of the patients, contributing to the achievement of QOF register checks
  • check-iconRemove caseload from overworked GPs, allowing them to spend more time focussed on patients that they can potentially help
  • check-iconBetter quality appointments
  • check-iconReduction of costs associated with GP Capacity
  • check-iconLess prescription costs
  • check-iconReception staff trained and able to book appointments directly with Podiatrist
  • check-iconReduction in overall waiting times, freeing up capacity
  • check-iconPodiatrist work autonomously and manage their own caseload
  • check-iconIntegration into the PCN/ Practice workforce
  • check-iconReduction in costly onward referrals to Secondary Care
  • check-iconCan work the extended hours

How Does it work?


The Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme was introduced by NHS England in 2019 to support the recruitment of additional roles into Primary Care. These additional funds were made available to the Primary Care Networks to create more frontline roles and support the reduction in waiting lists at GP surgeries.


The funds are allocated to each PCN and this is calculated according to how many patients they have registered. The PCN is then free to allocate these funds as they see fit and hire for any of the roles that are covered by the ARRS funding.


This funding covers a number of roles, such as Clinical Pharmacists, Social Prescribers, Podiatrists, Paramedics, Occupational Therapists, Dietitians, and Physiotherapists to name but a few.


Depending on the demography (and sometimes geography) of the area, the PCN chooses the distribution of roles that best reflects their population and the services that are required.


The PCN applies to their local CCG for these funds. Once they have been agreed, the PCN is able to create any new role and fund it.


The newly employed person does not sit on their direct payroll, with the salary being covered by the AARS funding money that has been made available by NHS England. This might be a person who is hired directly by the PCN or through a company, such as Xcel Health.

What can the Podiatrist do?

There has long been an impression that a Podiatrist only cuts toenails!

In fact, cutting toenails is only a very small part of their job and this is done in rare cases. A Podiatrist is a trained professional and is able to help with the following :

  • check-iconFoot, heel, and leg pain
  • check-iconDiabetic assessment
  • check-iconDiabetic foot ulcer assessment, management, and referral on to MDFT
  • check-iconGeneral foot care -corns, calluses, and fungal infections
  • check-iconRemoval of hard skin
  • check-iconPlantar fasciitis
  • check-iconPregnancy-related foot problems
  • check-iconDiabetes foot care
  • check-iconFootwear advice
  • check-iconVascular Assessment
  • check-iconToenail problems
  • check-iconCutting toenails and treating nail problems
  • check-iconFoot education

Why Choose Xcel Health for your PCN?

We have been providing services into Primary Care Networks since 2019, and are able to draw on our experience of running 4 successful Private Clinics to build a comprehensive and robust model to support our colleagues in the NHS.

We understand the challenges faced by Primary Care Networks and GP surgeries and we work together, becoming an integral part of the surgery to ensure that we get the best outcome for patients, first time, every time.

It is why our Clinicians work really hard to become an integrated member of your local team, ensuring that patients can get the best outcomes on their first visit, every time.

Our highly skilled Clinicians will be able to work with the reception staff to ensure that the correct patients are referred to them and be present in the surgeries to provide support. They will be able to join local meetings and feedback on clinical outcomes and make onward referrals where appropriate.

They have all embarked and passed the FCP Roadmap set out by HEE and done all the required mandatory trainings. We have qualified supervisors who will frequently observe and feed back on their work, ensuring that the highest clinical and ethical standards are met at all times.

Where required, our Clinicians can work remotely to triage patients, providing advice to those in need of it and booking in face to face appointments where required. This is particularly helpful if Clinic space is at a premium and every appointment counts!

We work together with the Primary Care Networks to reduce waste, such as missed appointments and we are proud of the fact that our DNA rate is below the national average of 12%. We achieve this through ensuring that the reception team feel confident about explaining the benefits of the Service and that the patient can see the benefit of such an outcome.


How can we check if you are doing a good job?

good job

We will regularly ask for feedback from patients in regards to their experiences. Not only is this a requirement of HEE, but it is an important part of the role that we do. We have to validate and understand the experience of the patients, so that we can ensure they are satisfied with the service that they receive.

good job

We will also send you monthly data which will typically detail the number of appointment slots and the number of patients seen, the conditions that have been treated and the outcomes. These reports can be tailored if there is anything that you particularly want to see.