The Australasian College of Podiatric Surgeons (ACPS) is a professional organisation dedicated to supporting and training podiatric surgeons in Australia. Founded in 1978, the ACPS serves as the leading advocate for podiatric surgical standards, professionalism, and surgical education in the country. Its primary objective is to advance knowledge in Podiatric Surgery and uphold the highest standards of foot and ankle care provided by podiatric surgeons to patients and the community.
The ACPS is guided by a set of core values that shape its activities and interactions:
The ACPS is committed to serving the needs of its members, patients, and the community at large. It aims to provide exemplary care and support through its various programs and initiatives.
The ACPS emphasises integrity in all aspects of its operations. Members are expected to uphold the highest ethical standards and act in the best interest of patients and the profession.
Respect for patients, colleagues, and the diversity of individuals is a fundamental value of the ACPS. It promotes a culture of inclusivity, fairness, and empathy in all interactions.
The ACPS recognises the importance of compassion in healthcare. It encourages members to approach patient care with empathy, understanding, and kindness.
Collaboration and teamwork are crucial for providing comprehensive and effective foot and ankle care. The ACPS fosters collaboration among its members, as well as with other healthcare professionals, to ensure the best possible outcomes for patients.
In addition to advocacy, the ACPS conducts a national specialty training program that leads to specialist registration in podiatric surgery. This program ensures that podiatric surgeons receive comprehensive training and exposure to diagnose, perform surgical procedures, and provide adjunctive treatments for diseases, injuries, and structures of the human foot, and ankle. Members who also meet AHPRA requirements as a Podiatric Surgeons are eligible to become Podiatric Surgeons with the ACPS.
Members of the ACPS are podiatrists who have undergone extensive post-graduate education in medicine and surgery building on competencies in non-surgical management of foot and ankle pathology. This specialised training equips them with the skills necessary to perform reconstructive surgery of the foot and ankle elective and non-elective.
Podiatric Surgery is recognised by Australian State and Federal legislation, for example the Health Insurance Act and the National Health Act refer to accredited podiatrists performing in hospital surgical procedures.
As of May 2023, the Fellowship training program offered by the ACPS has been independently re-accredited by AHPRA and satisfies the education requirements set by the Podiatry Board of Australia (standards and capabilities) for recognition as a specialist podiatrist (foot and ankle surgery).
All AHPRA registered podiatric surgeons are eligible to become members of the ACPS.
In Australia, ACPS members primarily operate in private hospitals as part of a surgical team that includes anesthetists, medical practitioners, surgical assistants, and nursing and hospital staff. The surgical team collaborates closely to provide each patient with the highest quality of care and respect. ACPS members strictly adhere to hospital protocols and ensure that patient care and safety remain paramount. ACPS members are vetted through medical advisory committees within specific hospitals to ensure our surgeons meet the standard of professional development and align with the ethical constructs of care stipulated by the hospital guidelines.
Foot and ankle surgery performed by ACPS members can be conducted as day-case surgery or may require an overnight stay, depending on the individual needs of the patient. Surgeries are performed under local or general anesthesia. In the postoperative phase, patients are closely monitored and managed based on their unique requirements and recovery stages.
The ACPS, in line with the global reputation of podiatric surgery, has a long-standing history of leadership and innovation in the field of foot surgery. ACPS members have dedicated years of energy and expertise to research, investigation, and mastery of medical and surgical therapeutics related to the foot and ankle. Treatment and management options for foot and ankle problems may involve surgery, medicines, casts or splints, and allied therapies.
Podiatric surgeons work closely with patients to discuss the merits of conservative and surgical treatment options, enabling individuals to select the most suitable treatment plan for an active and functional life. Podiatric surgeons through their background in non-surgical management of foot and ankle pathology are well placed to assist other healthcare practitioners to manage patients without invasive procedures.
The ACPS plays a vital role as a national organisation, focusing on the development, implementation, and monitoring of guidelines for the practice of podiatric surgery within Australia. Through its efforts, the ACPS ensures that podiatric surgeons across the country adhere to the highest standards of surgical care, promoting patient safety and optimal outcomes.
Members of the ACPS specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of various foot and ankle disorders. They possess unique qualifications to address issues related to bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, tendons, and associated pathologies. Some of the conditions treated by ACPS members include:
In April 2007 the Federal Health Insurance Act was amended to allow Health Funds the ability to design more flexible insurance products.
Previous federal legislative reform (2004/5) was specifically intended to encourage appropriate recognition of podiatric surgical services and equitable payment of rebates for these services. The Health Insurance Act and the National Health Act were amended to include Members of the ACPS in the same category as medical practitioners for the purposes of hospital admission. The explanatory memorandum to the amendment stated that hospital treatment provided by Members of the ACPS should be treated under applicable benefits arrangements “as they would if a medical practitioner provided a professional service”. These legislative reforms in combination with the national registration of Members of the ACPS as specialists in foot and ankle surgery affirms that surgery performed by Members of the ACPS has been shown to be safe, clinically effective and cost-effective.
Members of the Australasian College of Podiatric Surgeons are extensively trained to deal with the diagnosis; medical, surgical and adjunctive treatment of disease, injuries and defects of the human foot and ankle and associated structures. The College sets rigorous criteria for podiatric foot and ankle surgery. It is the position of the College that credentialing processes for granting privileges for the speciality of foot and ankle surgery should be based on the completion of training that is duly accredited by the surgeons’ registration board and surgical College.
Evidence of compliance with the requirements for continuing professional development and participation in College activities, such as national clinical audit, via college certification, should be required by credentialing bodies.
Podiatric surgeons are podiatrists who have completed extensive, post-graduate medical and surgical training, which enables them to perform reconstructive surgery of the foot and ankle. The qualifications of podiatric surgeons are recognised by Australian State and Federal Governments. Podiatric surgeons are included within both the Health Insurance Act and the National Health Act.
Around the world, podiatric surgery has a long history of leadership and innovation in the field of foot surgery. Podiatric surgeons are unique, having dedicated their energy over many years in research, investigation and mastery of medical and surgical therapeutics of the foot and ankle. Podiatric surgeons are uniquely qualified to care for bone, joint, ligament, muscle and tendon pathology of the foot and ankle, including:
Structural deformities, including bunions, hammertoes, flat and high arched foot deformity
Bone spurs of the foot and ankle
Tendon and soft tissue problems
Degeneration and arthrosis of the joints of the foot and ankle
Skin and nail conditions
Trauma-related injuries, including fractures and dislocations and posttraumatic arthrosis
The Australasian College of Podiatric Surgeons is a national organisation, the roles of which include the development, implementation and monitoring of guidelines for the practice of podiatric surgery within Australia; and the training and ongoing provision of resources to assist in ongoing accreditation of podiatric surgeons within Australia. The Australasian College of Podiatric Surgeons is committed to the advancement of knowledge of podiatric surgery, and endeavours to uphold the highest standards in foot and ankle surgical care by podiatric surgeons within the community.
Under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009, the Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council has recognized podiatric surgery as a surgical specialty. Since 1976, the ACPS has been responsible for the development and training of podiatric surgeons in Australia.
It is the position of the ACPS that credentialing processes for granting privileges for the speciality of foot and ankle surgery should be uniformly applied to all surgeons seeking foot and ankle surgery privileges. This should occur regardless of whether the surgery has a specialist in podiatric surgery or orthopaedic surgery. These privileges should be based on the completion of training that is duly accredited by the surgeons’ registration board and surgical College. The privileging process should evaluate specialised foot and ankle post-Fellowship documentation, surgical training logs, and/or demonstration of current clinical experience at other facilities, continuing education, and certification, along with Fellowship qualification.
The granting of clinical privileges for a foot and ankle surgeon with a Fellowship of the ACPS should be based on fair and objective analysis that follows the same National Standard requirements as set forth in evaluating other specialists and physicians consistent with the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (“ACSQHC”) and/or individual state standards.
The ACSQHC Standard specifies that evidence of a current license, competence, relevant training and ability to perform the procedures that the privileges request should form the basis of privilege delineation. Foot and ankle surgical training, demonstration of current clinical experience in foot, ankle and related lower extremity surgery, and continuing medical/surgical education are also important credentialing elements recognized by ACSQHC. These key elements allow for measurable and uniform objective criteria to be applied in evaluating a podiatric surgeon for privileges in foot and ankle surgery. In addition, consideration of scholarly and academic achievements may be factored into the decision-making process.
Individual credentialing and surgical privilege delineation is determined by an individual’s qualifications and documentation consistent with other specialities and ACSQHC standards. All Members of the ACPS have comprehensive exposure and training to practice the diagnosis, surgical and adjunctive treatment of disease, injuries and defects of the human foot and ankle and associated structures. It is accepted that post Fellowship individual training expertise will develop in specific techniques or procedures.
To view the ACPS Credentialing Policy, click here.
It is the position of the ACPS that credentialing processes for granting privileges for surgical assistants to a podiatric foot and ankle surgeon should require evidence of:
Current registration with the Podiatry Board of Australia
Affiliate membership with the ACPS
Completion of the ACPS Basic Surgery Skills and Education Training (BSSET)
Evidence of indemnity Insurance with an appropriate level of coverage
Members of the ACPS actively participate in programs that offer assistance to remote and underprivileged individuals throughout Australia and the world. Vietnam, Bangladesh and Myanmar are current and ongoing initiatives. The aid project in Vietnam has been the most longstanding of these projects, directly contributing to major public health programs and infrastructure development in central Vietnam since 1996. For more information visit the clubfoot project website.
Please visit the ACPS Surgical Mission Charity website, made possible with generous support from Clarks Shoes Australia and Variety International Children’s Lifeline.