The University of Southampton
Health Sciences

Professor Alan M Borthwick OBE, PhD, MSc, CSci, FCPM, FFPM RCPS(Glasg), FHEA

Professorial Fellow in Podiatry

Professor Alan M Borthwick's photo
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Professor Alan Borthwick is a Professorial Fellow (Education) in Podiatry at the Faculty of Health Sciences.  A podiatrist by background, his research has focused on the sociology of the allied health professions, and podiatry in particular, within the broader health division of labour.  Role boundaries within and across the allied health professions have changed considerably in recent decades, in line with the healthcare workforce redesign agenda, and Alan has actively contributed to this process, representing the Allied Health Professions Federation as part of the Department of Health allied health professions medicines projects (2008-9 and 2010-13), leading to legislative change enabling independent prescribing by physiotherapists and podiatrists.  He is presently involved again with NHS England’s Chief Professions Officers’ Medicines Scoping Project which is reviewing the list of controlled drugs for physiotherapy and podiatry (2017-2018).

Extending roles in the allied health professions is helping to ensure a sustainable health service into the future.

His international comparative work on role boundary change in podiatry resulted in an adjunct Associate Professorship at Queensland University of Technology (2014) and a life membership award from the Canadian Federation of Podiatric Medicine in 2012. He is the recent past Chairman of the Medicines and Medical Devices Committee of the College of Podiatry, which he led for 7 years (2008-2015), during which extensions to the podiatrists’ exemption lists were attained, alongside full prescribing rights. Professor Borthwick is a member of the College of Podiatry Academic Board and a member of the executive Council of the Society of Chiropodists & Podiatrists. He is also a former Executive Board member of the Faculty of Podiatric Medicine at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, of which he is a Fellow. He is the UK Editor in Chief of the Journal of Foot and Ankle Research (Impact Factor 1.405 for 2016). His research has largely focused on the contemporary and historical sociology of the allied health professions in the UK and Australia, and in particular on the profession of podiatry. Alan was awarded the Meritorious Award of the Society of Chiropodists & Podiatrists in 2008, and is also an honorary life member of the Prince Edward Island Podiatry Association, Canada (2007). He has over 100 publications, including research and professional papers, journal editorials and book chapters. He has also been external examiner to 14 doctoral degrees and has supervised 13 doctoral level students.






Research interests

Alan has undertaken doctoral and post-doctoral research involving qualitative research methods, including in-depth, key actor interviews, focus group interviews, nominal group technique methods and documentary research methods.

Research group

Health Work

Research project(s)

OptiFoot: Optimisation of foot care for people living with arthritis.

Supported by a Career Development Fellowship from the National Institute for Health Research and The College of Podiatry UK this project forms a four year multi-phase research design to develop an optimal model of foot care for people living with arthritis.

Alan is presently the Chairman of the Faculty of Health Sciences Ethics Committee, as well as a member of the Faculty Health and Safety Committee, Wellbeing at Work Committee, and a member of the University Harassment Contact team, which recently received the Vice Chancellor's Team Award (2013).  Alan is also a Departmental Representative of the UCU Union. 

Alan is presently supervising 6 doctoral students, 3 PhD students and 3 DClinP students.



Book Chapters



Alan is the professional lead for podiatry, and is the module leader for ‘access and supply pharmacology’ (PODY 2022), and the module support or the interprofessional module ‘partnerships in health and social care’. He also teaches on the complex clinical management module, foundations of podiatric practice module and a number of clinical education modules. Alan also teaches research methods (qualitative skills in narrative and documentary research as well as interviewing) for the Faculty doctoral programmes, as well as medico-legal aspects of prescribing for M level programmes. He also teaches on the applied clinical science module(anatomy), the chronic conditions module, and is involved in assessment of ‘leadership and management’, ‘healthcare futures and innovations’ and is a placement visitor (Sheffield and Isle of Wight).

Professor Alan M Borthwick
University of Southampton Faculty of Health Sciences Building 45 Highfield Southampton SO17 1BJ

Room Number:45/2023

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