Podiatrist gets MP boost
A podiatrist who is embroiled in a battle to highlight what he claims is a flaw in the regulation of his profession has received backing from his MP.
Mark Russell took himself off the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) register in protest at the way it protects patients from chiropodists and podiatrists who have been struck off for malpractice.
Mr Russell, of Westby Road, St Annes, says only podiatrists and chiropodists are protected titles by HCPC standards, meaning anyone stuck off from the register can still practice in the industry under other titles, like foot health specialists or podologists.
Now he has won the backing of Fylde MP Mark Menzies, who has written to the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, calling for a legislation review.
Mr Menzies said: “I met with Mr Russell recently and he raised some interesting points about the medical profession and which disciplines are covered by protection of function and which are merely covered by protection of title.
“He told me that doctors and dentists are covered under protection of function so if someone were struck off as a dentist they would not be able to treat patients’ teeth, no matter what job title they gave themselves.
“I understand that other medical professions are different and if a podiatrist is struck off they can continue to practice but are no longer allowed to give themselves that title. I am not sure what level of protection that gives patients.
“I have raised these concerns with the Health Secretary on Mr Russell’s behalf and look forward to hearing his position.”
The HCPC has prosecuted and fined Mr Russell, 52, for misusing the protected “podiatrist” title without being registered.
After pleading guilty to an offence with intent to deceive at the City of London Magistrates he was fined £270 and ordered to pay a £27 victim surcharge as well as costs totalling more than £6,000 in November.
He is due to appeal the fine at the Old Bailey on February 28.
Mr Russell said: “Since my story was in The Gazette a solicitor who specialises in medical and pharmaceutical law has been in touch and will now be representing me.
“I am really pleased Mr Menzies has taken up my fight – the more people in Parliament who aware of this issue, the better.”