Most patients participated of medical treatments for more than one health professional nowadays when they are not well-being. Hence, the issue of working and collaboration among different the health professionals is indispensable. Interprofessional teamwork is one of the important roles for allied health students who involved in patients care to cooperate with each other after graduated over the few decades. On the following essay, aim to compare and contrast the role of podiatry with the role of dentist from health care which involved in patient care.

Definition of the profession:

Webster’s dictionary defines a profession as “a calling requiring specialized knowledge and often long and intensive academic preparation” and “the whole body if persons engaged in a calling” that require advanced education and involving profession knowledge and mature, such as lawyer, medicinal officer and dentist etc. (Webster’s dictionary)

Understandings of interprofessional collaborate:

Interprofessional workings included up to two or more professionals colleagues collaborate to work together are more effectively in order to improve the quality of patient heath care. It allows for coordinated and flexible services, an ability and responsive workforce (Barret and Sellman). Also the World Health Organization recognized and stated that interprofessional collaboration in education and practice as an innovative strategy that will play a key role in mitigating the global health crisis. (WHO Framework 2010)

In March of 2010, the World Health Organization has been published The WHO’s Framework for Action on Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice to highlights the current status of interprofessional collaboration around the world, identifies the mechanisms that shape successful collaborative teamwork, and outlines a series of action items that policymakers can apply within their local health system (who’s Framework 2010). The purpose of this framework in order to enhance and encourage interaction of interprofessional teamwork in allied health professions and improve health outcomes for patients

The role of podiatrist

According to the NHS stated that the podiatrist usually diagnose and treat the deformities of the lower limb. They also give professional suggestion and promote foot care education on prevent of foot problems and on correct foot care. Patients will be included of all ages from children to the elderly. (NHS)

Podiatrists are working with other allied health professional in a diverse of environments such as general practitioner, diabetic nurse, wound nurse and physiotherapist etc. and many variety groups of patients who have an extensive range of foot problems. Podiatrists are also subdivision by general podiatrist, podiatric surgeon and diabetes specialist podiatrist. The mainly area of podiatrists included working in the general clinic, biomechanics, pediatrics, high risk patients and podiatric surgery. (NHS)

General podiatrists are usually offer a vital foot evaluation, assessment, and care for a different patient and uses many of the clinical and assessment skills in general clinic such as general circulation test, sensation test and biomechanics test. However, general podiatrists often refer patients to specialist clinic after their professional diagnosis if patients who are obtained severe conditions.

Biomechanics is focus on restoration, preservation and development of the foot function and its associated structure. Biomechanics refers to an understanding of the mechanics in the body and podiatrists use this to diagnose and treat the lower limb (SOCAP). There are many biomechanics podiatrists use a functional orthotics to treat for biomechanics foot problem and custom insoles provide for patient aim to improve function, prevent abnormal and reduce symptoms in both NHS Inch Keith House clinic and MSK clinic at Queen Margaret University.

Certain of specialize podiatrists working with patients who are classed as being high risk e.g. poor circulation, reduced or lost of sensation without knowing. Therefore, podiatrists have to take care of patients with diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, peripheral arterial disease and nerve damage.

Podiatric Surgery is the operative treatment for the foot and about the foot structures. This is responsibility by a podiatric surgeon, usually as a short procedure with local anesthetic. Podiatric surgery is available in all of the NHS trusts as well as in private clinics and hospitals such as server Hallux Abduct Valgus, Morton’s Neuroma and Plantar fasciitis etc. (SOCAP).

The role of Dentist

There are 8 areas of specialty practice have been established: dental public health, endodontic, oral pathology, oral and maxillofacial surgery, orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, periodontics, and prosthetics. General dental practice is one of the most important large areas of dentistry which included all the oral heath care. This is a priority line for promote the oral health to the residents, treating and preventing dental and oral disease. GDPs may practice either under the NHS, privately or both. However, the general dental practioner like a leader of the dental team, they are determine and management of the dental treatment or refer to the other specialist, for example, (i) refer to endodontics specialist if patient who need to go through root canal treatment, (ii) it may go to orthodontics specialist if patent require for treatment of improper bites (iii)refer to oral surgery specialist if patent with problem wisdom teeth, surgical treatment or repair of various conditions of the mouth or jaws etc. There are few types of dentist that we usually contact during in the dental treatments.

Dental Public Health: purpose to control and prevent dental diseases and promoting dental health through organized community efforts and it is that form of the general dental practice which serves the community as a patient. It is concerned with the dental health education of the public, with applied dental research, and with the administration of group dental care programs as well as the prevention and control of oral diseases on a community basis. (Adopted May 1976 by American Dental Association)

Endodontic specialist

They are responsible to treat pulp diseases which patients have endodontic treatment have been classified of regular and surgical root canal therapy. Most of the periapical and pulpal diseases can be treated by regular root canal therapy as NTUH stated that. (NTUH)

Prosthodontic specialist can make a treatment plan for patients who was severely damaged, or missed teeth, then reconstruct oral structure after other oral diseases has been treated and applied the most advanced knowledge and materials into treatment plan.(NTUH)

Periodontics specialty of dentistry which encompasses the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the supporting and surrounding tissues of the teeth or their substitutes and the maintenance of the health, function and esthetics of these structures and tissues. (Adopted by ADA, December 1992)

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Oral Surgeon is mainly to diagnosis for the abnormal hard and soft tissue function aesthetics and lesions around the oral and maxillofacial region. For example, oral cancer, tumors and cysts of the jaws, cleft lip and palate surgery, wisdom tooth removal, place dental implants.


To illustrate the similarities between podiatrist and Dentist. Firstly, they are all with existing body of knowledge that is constantly being updated, expanded, and archived in all literature record that improved quality of professions service to public. Secondly, their academic preparation carried out in specialised institutions and its members accept a lifelong commitment to continuing education. Also, society awards it the privilege of self-regulation that they can determine the requirements for entering and remaining in the profession, and dealing with those members who do not meet the requirements. Furthermore, they have own organization to enhance the development of the group and its societal mission, and to serve its individual members (Burt and Eklund). They are participate people health care and both of them are similarity during in their career although they are doing the different role and duties.

Podiatrists in the U.K are always working with other allied health professionals. In student clinical experience, we offered a lot of referrals from General Practioners or physiotherapists in INCHKEITH HOUSE and QMU MSK clinic or we are also send referral to other specialist or profession. Therefore, this is a type of work with interprofessional. Additionally, I had an opportunity to worked at podiatry clinic in Hong Kong, most of podiatrists are always work with wound nurses due to diabetes is one of the major choice disease and it can lead to necrosis and prolong a period of the wound healing for the lower limb whereas most of the dental referral from their own relative professional. Compare with wound nurse in Hong Kong, podiatrist always focus on doing plantar ulcer toes wound, provide special footwear and insoles for off loading whereas wound nurses in Hong Kong are focus on above the ankle but we both wanted the patient to have a ulcer free, promoted healing and prevent amputation.

However, Dentists often involved to the oral surgery term with plastic specialist, Oncologist, nurses and other health professional for pre and post operative care. Oral cancer is one of the good examples for study. According to the department of heath in Taiwan, oral cancer account for 35% of all cancers and they have to establish cancer care quality team under Article 15, cancer control act by department of health during surgery. This is multidiscipline in order to provide the positive outcome to patients. Indeed, patients not only confront life-threatening, but also have to accepted an appearance and function of the defect, and even change of interpersonal relationship.


The interprofessional teamwork is necessary and became popular for health care professional whatever in the United Kingdom, Australia or Hong Kong. This is the best effective way to provide patients high quality health care service outcome and more cost effective for financial and manpower. Secondary, teamwork can also reduce a risk of mistakes through communication, backup behaviour, mutual trust, and mutual performance monitoring and shared. Last but not last; we can save more unnecessary resources and time of health care.


World health organization 2010 Framework for Action on Interprofessional Education & Collaborative Practice. Geneva, Switzerland: March 2010. WHO.

[online] Available at :[Access date 22nd March 2012]

NHS 2012. Allied health professionals [online] Available at : [Accessed 22nd March 2012].

The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists 2012. Scope of Podiatrist.[online] Available at :[Accessed 22nd March 2012]

The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists 2010. A guide to the benefits of podiatry to patient care. [online] Available at :[Accessed 22nd March 2012]

American Dental Association 2012. Definitions of Recognized Dental Specialties. [online] Available at :[Accessed 23rd March 2012]

National Taiwan University Hospital 2012. Department of Dentistry. [online] Available at :[Accessed 23rd March 2012]

Webster’s dictionary 2012 [online] Available at :[Accessed 22nd March 2012]

Burt, B. A. and Eklund, S. A. Dentistry, Dental Practice and the Community, 5th edition. Philadelphia, PA: W.B. Saunders Company.

Barret G., Sellman D and Thomas J 2005.Interprofessional working in health and social care : professional perspectives 1ST edition New York : Palgrave Macmillan,.