Welcome to the Podiatry Arena forums, for communication between foot health professionals about podiatry and related topics.
You are currently viewing our podiatry forum as a guest which gives you limited access to view all podiatry discussions and access our other features. By joining our free global community of Podiatrists and other interested foot health care professionals you will have access to post podiatry topics (answer and ask questions), communicate privately with other members (PM), upload content, view attachments, receive a weekly email update of new discussions, earn CPD points and access many other special features. Registered users do not get displayed the advertisments in posted messages. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join our global Podiatry community today!
If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact contact us.
The following article appeared on another podiatry forum following publication in a Midland's newspaper. I thought I recognised the name of one of the founding members of the new 'podiatric surgery council' - could this be the same John F Heylings as the one at the West Midland 'School'? If so can we expect to see trained surgeons specialising in MIS after a three week correspondence course? How does one apply?
£2,500 DIPLOMA THAT'S USELESS
Sub-Heading: Students will NOT be able to call themselves chiropodists
Two school principals rake in more than £100,000 Company records claimed that bosses were doctors - but they're not
Publication Sunday Mercury Date 20/10/2002
By BOB HAYWOOD:
THE motto of The West Midlands School of Chiropody & Podiatric Medicine is 'faber est suae quisque fortunae'. It is Latin for 'we each make our own fortune'.
The motto is certainly true for the two principals of the school, who have raked in more than £100,000 from the booming business.
But the financial future is less rosy for their students - because they could be left with diplomas hardly worth the paper they are printed on.
The school, which spends thousands of pounds on advertising campaigns, is the second-biggest private sector chiropody institution in Britain.
Students are charged nearly pounds 2,500 to enrol on its diploma course which involves mainly home study - with just 20 practical days - spread over a recommended two years.
According to the glossy school prospectus, the awarding of its impressive-looking Diploma in Chiropody 'will give you the confidence to work as a fully-qualified chiropodist within the private sector.'
But this fails to tell the full story. Because students enrolling now - and, indeed, some who have already qualified - will NOT be able to call themselves chiropodists after April 2005.
This is because the Governmentbacked Health Professions Council is tightening up a whole range of quasimedical practitioners to ensure the highest standards for the profession to protect the public.
At present, there are only about 8,000 state-registered chiropodists who mainly work in NHS hospitals and clinics. They come under the strictest control and can be disciplined - even struck off - if they are found guilty of malpractice.
But absolutely anyone can call themselves a chiropodist and absolutely anyone can train them.
There are about 10,000 practitioners working in the lucrative private sector, operating from high street offices or treating patients in their
The West Midlands School of Chiropody is based in a rabbit warren of offices and treatment rooms above a building society branch in Blackheath in the Black Country.
It was founded in 1996 by Victor Fletcher and John Falkner-Heylings, neither of whom is a state-registered chiropodist.
Both qualified from Britain's biggest privately-run chiropody school - the Smae Institute in Maidenhead, Berkshire.
Last year, the company which owns the school - of which the two men are the sole directors and shareholders - made a gross profit of nearly £250,000.
Oddly, both men are referred to as 'doctor' in the company's returns to Companies House for the first year of its existence.
In fact, neither is a medical doctor - nor has a doctorate in any academic subject. They are totally unable to explain the misdescription.
The school offers its courses to 'young or mature, made redundant or a mum with a desire to return to work [or] those who take early retirement.'
As well as the diploma course - costing pounds 2,389.25 - there is the certificate course which involves just 10 days of practical work and costs £1,194.60.
Easy payments are available. Students in both categories also have to pay exam fees of £163.60 each.
Qualifying for either a certificate or a diploma entitles the successful student to become a member of 'a professional association'.
One of its prime benefits is pounds 1 million worth of public liability insurance to protect them against law suits for bungled treatment.
The 'professional association' is, in fact, the grandly-named The Alliance of Private Sector Chiropody & Podiatric Practitioners which also has a Latin motto.
Its headquarters are at The West Midlands School of Chiropody - and its sole directors are Mr Fletcher and Mr Falkner-Heylings. Virtually all of its members are also graduates of the school.
New would-be students are now being handed a form - headed Important Positional Statement - which sets out the new regulatory controls soon to be imposed on the profession.
It says: 'Registration and use of the title(s) [chiropodist and podiatrist] will not be accessible to you unless you gain a BSc (Hons) degree in podiatry.
'You will be able to do the same work in exactly the same way using another title, but you must not claim to be a 'chiropodist' or 'podiatrist' after April 2005.'
But - unhelpfully - the form, which students must sign before being allowed on the course, fails to mention what this 'other title' might be.
It also fails to make clear a critical part of the tightening up of the profession.
Chiropodists who are not state registered will be allowed on the newly-formed The Chiropodists Board but they must have been practising for three of the five years prior to the cut-off date.
This means that none of the students enrolling at the school now will ever be able to call themselves chiropodists - which, for graduates of a chiropody school, may strike many people as strange.
In addition, assuming that already-graduated students took the suggested two years to gain their certificates or diplomas, they must have been practising by April 2002 - or they will be disbarred, too.
Anyone defying the new regulations could face prosecution and a maximum fine of £5,000.
The future is uncertain for new students of The West Midlands School of Chiropody - and other privately-run institutions.
But Mr Fletcher and Mr FalknerHeylings have done very well out of chiropody in which they have practised for more than 35 years between them.
The West Midlands School of Chiropody & Podiatric Medicine Ltd., which owns the school, made a gross profit of pounds 246,321 in the year ended November 30 2001 - with a net profit of £28,947.
But 'general overheads' account for a massive pounds 146,897 which is not broken down in the accounts. A dividend of pounds 50,000 was paid to the shareholders, Mr Fletcher and Mr Falkner-Heylings.
Including previous years, the shareholder dividends now total £106,000.
Mr Fletcher, 59, of Halesowen, and Mr Falkner-Heylings, 56, of Great Barr, Birmingham, say they draw no directors' salaries from the school. Both have separate thriving private chiropody practices.
The business partners have been involved in a desperate rearguard action to defend their business from the impending rule changes, including public consultations arranged by The Health Professions Council and bombarding MPs and Ministers with protest letters.
They believe the result of the changes in the profession will mean 'half of the UK hobbling around' because of a shortage of chiropodists.
Mr Falkner-Heylings told the Sunday Mercury that the school operated to the highest standard and played a key role in providing desperately needed chiropodists.
He said the 14 state-registered colleges were turning out only about 200 graduates, annually, in total. The need was for an extra 1,000 a year, he said.
There are about 18,000 chiropodists in the country, about 5,000 fewer than required, he said.
Mr Falkner-Heylings said: 'State registered chiropodists, who complete a three-year degree course, are over-qualified for the vast majority of treatment required by the public.
'In most cases, they need attention for corns, hard skin and verrucas which our graduates are trained to deal with.
'We train to what was the national standard for all chiropodists until 1960 and is still an adequate standard.
'We are very proud of what this school has achieved. Our graduates - from all walks of life - have been enabled to establish their own businesses, providing a vital service to the public.'
Mr Fletcher said: 'Nobody is coerced into studying here. Students are made aware - both verbally and in writing - of the impending changes and the effect it could have on them.'
He acknowledged that the wording of the school certificates and diplomas would have to be changed. So, too, would the name of the school if it has a future at all - because they all contained the words 'chiropody.'
But he did not agree that they were worthless.
Mr Fletcher hopes that a possible link-up with a local college to create an accredited centre of excellence could save the school from almost inevitable closure.
The Sunday Mercury suggested to the partners that they should stop taking new students in view of the uncertain future. They promised to think about it.
Chris Middleton, of the Health Professions Council, said: 'The changes are being brought in to achieve the highest standards of professional excellence.
'There has been widespread consultation about the proposals which should come as no surprise to interested parties as they have been on the cards since 1995.'
Last edited by Admin : 17th November 2004 at 03:31 AM.