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INTRODUCTION The first comprehensive report on the interprofessional relationships between foot and ankle surgeons in the UK is presented.
MATERIALS AND METHODS A questionnaire was sent to orthopaedic surgeons with membership of the British Foot and Ankle Surgery Society (BOFAS), orthopaedic surgeons not affiliated to the specialist BOFAS and podiatrists specialising in foot surgery. The questionnaire was returned by 77 (49%) of the BOFAS orthopaedic consultant surgeons, 66 (26%) of non-foot and ankle orthopaedic consultant surgeons and 99 (73%) of the podiatric surgeons.
RESULTS While most respondents have experience of surgeons working in the other specialty in close geographical proximity, the majority do not believe that this has adversely affected their referral base. The experience of podiatrists of the outcomes of orthopaedic surgery has been more positive than orthopaedic surgeons of podiatric interventions. Podiatrists are more welcoming of future orthopaedic involvement in future foot and ankle services than in reverse. However, there are a size able number of surgeons in both professions who would like to see closer professional liaisons. The study has identified clear divisions between the professions but has highlighted areas where there is a desire from many clinicians to work more harmoniously together, such as in education, training and research.
CONCLUSIONS While major concerns exist over issues such as surgery by non-registered medical practitioners and the suitable spectrum of surgery for each profession, many surgeons, in both professions, are willing to provide training for juniors in both specialties and there is a wish to have closer working relationships and common educational and research opportunities than exists at present.