Is there a role for podiatric surgeons in public hospitals? An audit of surgery to the great toe joint in Victoria, 1999–2003 Academic Article uri icon


  • This project aimed to describe and compare the frequencies of procedures performed by podiatric surgeons and orthopaedic surgeons for elective surgery to the great toe joint, an area of identified clinical need. The objective was to determine whether podiatric surgeons in the Australian context possess a surgical skill set which can be utilised in the public health sector. The Medicare Benefits Schedule (Medicare Australia) was reviewed to identify all codes relating to great toe joint surgery and frequency data were obtained for the period July 1999 to June 2003. A separate audit of the activity of Victorian podiatric surgeons was conducted. During the 4 years in Victoria, the number of procedures performed on this joint by 152 orthopaedic surgeons was 5882. Two podiatric surgeons in Victoria performed 1260 operations on this joint over this period (17.6% of great toe joint surgery on average each year in the private sector). Utilising orthopaedic workforce figures and on a per-surgeon basis, during this period the podiatric surgeons performed this type of surgery between 2 and 16 times more often than the orthopaedic surgeons, and consideration should be given to using these skills in the public sector to address the growing demand.

publication date

  • 2009