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Podiatric Surgery takes a step forward


People in Scotland with foot problems could soon benefit from the experience of the first Scottish trained podiatrist to qualify as a podiatric Consultant (surgery). William McMurrich commenced his studies following the approval in 2017 of the UK’s first ever Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)-approved podiatric surgery course for podiatrists. 

Podiatric surgery deals with surgery, typically for bone, joint and soft tissue disorders of the toes and forefoot. Commonly treated conditions include bunions, hammer toes, chronic deformity, or bony lumps. 

Until now, foot surgery has traditionally been carried out by orthopaedic surgeons. While other courses have existed previously, this is the first doctoral level course to meet HCPC standards of education and training. 

Developed by Queen Margaret University, working in partnership with NHS Education for Scotland (NES) and the Scottish Government, the programme will enable doctoral level trained podiatrists to qualify in foot surgery and work in theatre safely and effectively alongside the multidisciplinary team. This will take the burden off regular surgeons, allowing them to focus on more complex cases and with the aim to help reduce waiting times. 

William McMurrich has undertaken a rigorous programme of learning including working alongside orthopaedic surgeons in NHS Lothian, Borders and Greater Glasgow and Clyde. 

Tracy MacInnes, Acting Chief Health Professions Officer (CHPO) at Scottish Government said:
“I want to congratulate William on becoming the first person to achieve this qualification. Thanks to specialist training like this, patients in Scotland will see real benefits. 

“We are aiming to enhance the capacity of the service by combining these skills. This will lead to improvements in patient care by reducing waiting times.” 

NHS Education for Scotland Associate Director for Allied Health Professionals Elaine Figgins said:

“It’s important that the NHS looks at new ways of working, to improve patient care and cut waiting times, while maintaining quality standards. This approach not only allows allied health professionals to keep on developing, but it also frees up others in the team to concentrate on other advanced areas, potentially helping against waiting times. 

“We continue to work in partnership with QMU to assess surgical competencies of any trainees similar to the orthopaedic trainees.” 

NHS Education for Scotland is conducting an evaluation of the learning experience from perspectives of all the different stakeholders involved including the College of Surgeons, the College of Podiatry, NHS Lothian, Scottish Government Chief health professions office and Queen Margaret University. 

Professor Fiona Coutts, Dean of the School of Health Sciences at Queen Margaret University, said:

“As the first graduate from this innovative programme of study at doctoral level, William’s new qualification, skills and knowledge will enhance patient care and reduce waiting times for people requiring forefoot surgery. We hope that William’s success will inspire other podiatric health professionals to follow this pathway. We are pleased to continue working with NES and the Health Board to deliver educational opportunities for health professionals who help strengthen person-centred care within Scotland’s NHS.” 

The first trainee, William McMurrich is already undertaking the course within NHS Lothian.

Prof Alex McMahon, NHS Lothian’s Director for Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Healthcare Professionals said:

“We are delighted that William has completed this programme. We need to constantly look for opportunities to advance practice and develop advance roles across our workforce, and this is a great example. Patients will benefit from this and it will give encouragement to others who might want to follow a similar career path.” 

William McMurrich, Podiatry acting Head of Service, added:

“I am delighted to have successfully completed the surgical training program over the past three years. The training, which is recognised by the HCPC, has allowed me to develop my surgical training skills at Doctoral level. My thanks go to the team that supported me through this exciting development. I look forward to helping patients with painful foot conditions and help play a part in reducing patient waiting times.”



Reference: PR2019-009


Further Information From

Mary-Jo O’Brien, Corporate Communications, NHS Education for Scotland email or telephone 0131 656 3213.


Notes to Editors

The Health and Care Professions Council is the regulatory body for a wide range of professions in the UK. Read more at

NHS Education for Scotland (NES) is a national special health board working to provide education, training and workforce development for those who work in and with NHSScotland. At any time, this means NES is responsible for over 6,500 trainee healthcare professionals and supports the recruitment of professionals into Scotland.