§ Mr. Pollard
To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what discussions there have been between the Department of Health and the Health Professions Council on how the public will differentiate between the different clinical competencies and qualifications of individual chiropodist and podiatrist practitioners; 
(2) if he will make a statement on the efficacy of using the titles chiropodist and podiatrist to differentiate between the clinical competencies and qualifications of different chiropodist and podiatrist practitioners; 360W
(3) what plans the Department of Health has to recommend to the Health Professions Council that they institute a sub-register for current chiropodists who may decide not to join the Health Professions Council's register; 
(4) what plans his Department has to recommend to the Health Professions Council that they create protected titles other than chiropodist and podiatrist. 
§ Ms Blears
[holding answers 12 February2003]: My right hon. Friend the Minister of State met the President and Chief Executive of the Health Professionals Council (HPC) on 4 December 2002, at which meeting all aspects of the HPC's proposals were discussed.
The HPC consulted about which titles should be protected by law and has undertaken extensive market research to understand the public's perception of titles currently in use by healthcare professionals. The HPC's decision to propose the protection of both chiropodist and podiatrist reflects the general perception that these titles are used interchangeably. The titles indicate that those registered have met HPCs standards of competence. All applicants for registration will be expected to meet standards of proficiency, whether they are applying through the transitional arrangements, as international applicants or as UK applicants who have completed an approved course.
The HPC proposes using subsections of the register to distinguish between modalities of care but believes that to distinguish between skill levels would be confusing and unnecessary. The HPC has no plans to introduce a sub-register for those practitioners who do not meet the Council's standards of proficiency and who would not therefore be able to use the protected titles. Ultimately, it is for the HPC to propose and the Privy Council to determine the protected titles that will be associated with parts and subsections of the Health Professions Register.