Expanding the scope of the Podiatry profession in Malta interrelates to the rapidly advancing field of healthcare. This poses increased demands and rigorous training for newly graduate Podiatrists to offer a quality high standard service to their patients in harmony with their code of ethics and code of practice.
Nowadays, the Podiatry profession across the globe has advanced giving Podiatrists more recognition, more autonomy and further individual rights. The APM believes that it is in the interest of patients and the healthcare system that legislation needs to be updates so that policy changes are made in order to bring the Podiatry profession on par with international standards such as those in the United Kingdom and Australia which like Malta have a lot of similarities in their present health care system.
As a result, the APM has included in its vision its short, medium and long term commitment to become a strong shoulder for Podiatrists in order to expand their scope of practice. This should meet today’s health care challenges and allows the practioner to freely practice his profession without hindrance as defined and within the competences of the profession.
The Association of Podiatrists of Malta believes and will therefore work on the attainment of a number of rights and legislation changes in the short, medium and long term. These include:
- Prescription rights so that podiatrists become independent prescribers of specific medicines which are used to treat conditions affecting the feet. This allows patients to have access to a full treatment plan as advised by the podiatrist, increased access to professional advice and treatment which results in a reduction of abuse; a reduction in waiting time for a full comprehensive care and fast non- bureaucratic access to care.
- Inter-professional referrals between health care professionals/ specialists and medical specialists without the need to refer patients to a general physician in both government and private practice. This will promote the inter-disciplinary approach to health care giving an optimal and efficient service to patients.
- Direct referrals for diagnostic testing in the public and private service. This will assist the Podiatrist to arrive at a better diagnosis more efficiently and accurately. This will eliminate the need for a referral, prolonging the start of a treatment thereby reducing waiting time for patients and reducing inefficiencies which are present with the current out- dated system.
- Podiatric surgery in Malta similar to what is performed in other Commonwealth countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. Legislation changes which will lead to recognition of Podiatric surgery and its practice in Malta will lead to more options for patient requiring minor foot surgery – that are highly prevalent in the Maltese population – and are currently altogether absorbed with an already exhausted Orthopaedic waiting list due to lack of Podiatric surgeons practicing in Malta.