Implementing a podiatry prescribing mentoring program in a public health service: a cost-description study

Ms Anna Couch1, Dr Alicia James1, Jon Foo2, Associate Professor Stephen Maloney2, Dr Cylie Williams1

1Peninsula Health, Frankston, Australia, 2Monash University, Frankston, Australia


To identify the costs associated with developing and implementing a podiatry prescribing mentoring program; and to compare the cost of this program against potential healthcare savings made.

This was a cost-description analysis, involving the calculation of costs associated with the development and implementation of a mentoring program to train podiatrists to become endorsed prescribers. Costs were calculated using the Ingredients Method and examined from the perspective of a public health service provider, and the individual learner podiatrist. Breakeven analysis compared the cost of training a podiatry prescriber for endorsement against the potential benefit (savings) made by averting complications of an infected foot ulcer. A sensitivity analysis was conducted to allow for uncertainty in the results of an economic evaluation.

*Total start-up cost for the podiatry prescriber mentoring program was $13, 251. The total cost to train one learner podiatrist was $30, 087, dispersed between the hospital $17, 046 and the individual learner $13, 041. A podiatry prescriber must avert 0.40 major amputations arising from an infected foot ulcer through prescribing to recuperate the cost of training in the setting studied.

Significance of the findings to allied health:
The economic benefits (savings) created by an endorsed prescribing podiatrist over their career in a public health service are likely to outweigh the costs to train a podiatrist to attain endorsement.

*Health economics analysis is currently being considered to reflect the updated ESM requirements


Anna Couch graduated from La Trobe University in 2014 with a Bachelor of Health Sciences/ Masters of Podiatric practice. She completed her graduated year at the Royal Melbourne Hospital working as a member of the Diabetic Foot Unit. Anna now works as a podiatrist at Peninsula Health and Kingston Foot Clinic. Anna has worked on multiple projects across her different employment settings. Key successes include integrating prescribing rights into the podiatry department at Peninsula Health and working as the research assistant for the PAIGE: Podiatrists in Australia Investigating Graduate Employment project. Anna has recently enrolled in a Masters of Philosophy at Monash University.