SCP accredited podiatric practice
Any healthcare profession in the UK is subject to careful monitoring and regulation. These systems are in place to protect the public from sub-standard levels of care, and to ensure that practitioners always know to which standards they should be aspiring.
Qualification and registration with authorities like the HPC are important regulatory steps, but beyond that there are further steps that can be taken to ensure the very highest level of care provision. These include, for example, the process of practice accreditation, which is often utilised by both private and NHS podiatric practices.
Why get a practice accredited?
Practice accreditation is far from unique to podiatry. Many private healthcare provisions seek accreditation, and these include physiotherapy and cosmetics practices. This is because of the distinct benefits that accreditation can offer a practice, particularly a new one trying to establish itself.
When a patient is looking for a private practice one of their major concerns will be whether or not they will be getting a sufficiently high level of care. Word of mouth and advertisement are one way of getting a practice out into the open and inspiring some level of public confidence, however what practice accreditation can offer is the guarantee that a practice has been reviewed by an appropriate regulatory authority to ensure that its services meet certain criteria. Ultimately what accreditation offers is peace of mind for patients, and more business for podiatrists.
The process of accreditation
Accreditation is offered by associations like The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists to members. To become accredited a practice needs to abide by particular standards outlined by the SCP, and these encompass everything from the qualifications podiatrists possess to health and safety guidelines and practice policies.
Accreditation is completely voluntary, unlike registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HPC). It is important not to confuse the two as the latter is absolutely compulsory if a podiatrist wants to practice legally in the UK. Membership and accreditation from the SCP is voluntary, despite the fact that many podiatrists are members because of the many benefits offered.
Important guidelines offered by the SCP that need to be adhered to for successful accreditation include standards of:
- Infection control: Podiatrists are in regular contact with people’s feet, many of which can suffer from contagious infections. Safe and appropriate management of these feet and the surfaces which they come into contact with is an important health and safety consideration.
- Clinical environment: Providing a safe, comforting, and effective clinical atmosphere is one of the most important parts of a successful healthcare practice. The SCP only accredits practices that offer environments in keeping with their guidelines.
- Health and safety: General health and safety rules must be abided by for a practice to be considered safe and worthy of accreditation. This includes the aforementioned infection control and other, broader considerations like fire safety.
Many other guidelines are issued, but beyond these stipulations accreditation with the SCP also involves the provision of advice and information. The Practice Accreditation Scheme also offers members plenty of support with regards to how to meet standards and ensure the best possible experience of patients.
Finally accreditation also puts podiatric practices on The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists’ website, meaning that a practice is easy to find through a registry of accredited practices found on www.feetforlife.org.
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