UNLAWFUL PRACTICE OF PODIATRIC MEDICINE
Individuals who are not registrants of the College of Podiatric Surgeons of BC under the Health Professions Act (HPA) are not authorized to offer podiatric services; if they do they are engaging in unauthorized practice. Unauthorized individuals are not regulated. Only individuals who are registered by a college under the HPA are regulated health professionals, licensed and accountable to a regulatory body or college.
Podiatric medicine, or podiatry, is a designated profession under the HPA. The College of Podiatric Surgeons of BC (CPS-BC) governs and regulates this profession. Only College registrants are legally entitled and authorized to practise podiatric medicine and to use titles that are reserved under the HPA to the professions. The public is exposed to risks of harm when they receive health or medical, including podiatric, services or treatments from any unregulated individuals.
Examples of Typical Unauthorized Practice
Many activities that fall within the definition and scope of the ‘practice of podiatric medicine’, are sometimes offered or engaged in by unregistered individuals, including the following:
– diagnosis of a disease, disorder or condition of the lower leg or foot
– removal of moles, warts, neuromas and scars from the lower leg or foot
– injection of Botox or other substances into the lower leg or foot
– laser treatment of foot or toe nail fungus
– injection of a local anesthetic or other substance dispensed by pharmacies into the lower leg or foot
– offering medical advice about diagnosis, treatment prescription or treatment efficacy for foot conditions
– using reserved titles such as ‘doctor’, ‘podiatrist’, ‘surgeon’ or ‘podiatric surgeon’
– using abbreviations of the same such as ‘Pod’ either alone or with other terms such as ‘certified’ or their initials
– using other titles or terms that suggest they are a podiatrist or the equivalent
The College’s Role
The College has authority to deal with the problem of unlawful practice. When the College becomes aware of a possible concern, we will review the information provided and may conduct an investigation.
If there is strong evidence show that someone is making inappropriate representations or practising podiatric medicine without a license, the College will take steps to ensure that the activity ceases. The first step is usually to seek a written undertaking from the persons responsible to cease the unauthorized activity immediately.
If an unregulated individual does not cooperate and refuses or fails to cease the unauthorized activity, the College may obtain an injunction to ensure the activity does not continue.
The College may also report the matter to the police for investigation of the offence of unauthorized practice.
Other BC Regulated Health Professions
Some procedures that fall within the scope of podiatric medicine may be performed by other regulated health professionals who are regulated by other colleges under the Health Professions Act, primarily medical doctors or physicians, nurses and nurse practitioners.
Find out more about BC’s regulated health professions.