A telephone questionnaire was targeted at 189 paediatric senior house officers (SHOs) throughout England and Wales in order to evaluate their attitudes towards paediatrics and gain insight into methods by which recruitment could be improved in future years. A total of 152 senior house officers were interviewed. The group consisted mainly of general practice trainees, but included 51 career paediatricians. The majority were female (57%) and 44% were married. Our assessment revealed a perceived high work-load, but also showed that paediatrics remains a satisfying specialty. Training while in post was perceived as unsatisfactory by 32% of those questioned. Sixty per cent reported a decline in their social life since starting their post. Paediatrics was seen as the busiest of a number of specialties. This perception persisted, and in fact increased, between SHO and consultant grade. It is foreseen that this may lead to further problems in recruitment.