Monday, May 02, 2011
Surgical podiatrists - Upstart bunion scrappers!
The long distrust between doctors and podiatrists continues and now the peak doctors' organisation is resisting a push to allow non-medically trained podiatric surgeons to operate on feet. The group are challenging the surgical podiatrists’ ability to provide quality care and claiming their very titles may mislead patients. The Australian Medical Association has also accused the medical profession's new national regulator of failing to support doctors by opposing a bid to create new national standards for podiatric surgeons. Claims that podiatric surgeons in Australia were trained to a much lower standard approximated for medical graduates, and hence patients might be disadvantaged. Confusion over the title ‘doctor’ could misled the public into believing a podiatric surgeon was a medically trained doctor. Many patients could have simultaneous medical conditions that podiatrists would be ill-equipped to handle. Perth podiatrist Andrew Schox, president of the Australasian Podiatry Council, said that, contrary to the AMA's claims, podiatric surgeons trained for a similar amount of time to orthopedic surgeons before qualifying, by which time they would have done an average of 3000 foot operations. Mr Schox rejected the claim that patients with other health problems might suffer, saying operations were done in consultation with a patient's GP or specialist. He rejected the AMA's claim patients might be misled by the term "podiatric surgeon", saying "doctor" was a courtesy title used by vets and dentists as well as doctors.