The prosthetic and orthotic technician standard is designed for apprentices seeking to design and manufacture custom made devices to meet specification such as artificial limbs and spinal bracing.
This occupation is found in the NHS or independent companies contracted to supply a service to the NHS, or companies that provide a private service direct to individuals. Some technicians work in a department based in a hospital environment or within a manufacturing unit away from a hospital base.
The broad purpose of the occupation is design and manufacture custom-made devices to meet the specification / prescription determined by the Prosthetist/ Orthotist.
In prosthetics this is an artificial limb (prostheses), in orthotics it can be a range of devices from diabetic footwear to spinal bracing (orthoses).
Prosthetic and Orthotic Technicians use the specification/ prescription provided to make devices that aid movement, correct deformity and relieve discomfort for adults and children. These devices are designed to replace, support or improve the functioning of a limb or the spine. They will have an understating of the clinical conditions that they may provide devices for, which can include scoliosis, polio, spina bifida, multiple sclerosis, stroke, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, musculoskeletal injury and cerebral palsy.
Some patients who use the devices created may have congenital conditions such as being born with a limb missing or a limb or spine that has not formed fully; others may have lost a limb through trauma from being in an accident or during military service; and others may have lost a limb or part of limb due to disease as a result of their health condition, e.g. diabetes.
Prosthetic and Orthotic Technicians are highly skilled individuals who will be able to work with many different types of materials and processes to manufacture the required devices using the appropriate materials and technologies. They work with a very high attention to detail and to very specific measurements, profiles and moulds as each device is bespoke to the patient, their conditions and functionality. As people’s conditions and requirements change over time and technologies improve or change, they may continue to support patients and adapt/upgrade devices where required. They may also be required to support and supervise junior members of staff, delegating tasks as appropriate.
In their daily work, an employee in this occupation interacts with patients and their families, the Prosthetist/Orthotist, suppliers and colleagues.