Introduction The management of a sick child requires knowledge, clinical skills and experience. Life support courses are designed to deliver a structured approach to emergencies. Changes were introduced in the paediatric life support guidelines in 2005.
Aim To assess the knowledge of the new life support guidelines among doctors working in paediatrics.
Methods Data were collected by telephonic questionnaires from 100 doctors working in paediatrics on the registrar and senior house officer (SHO) rota in England. Questions focused on the recent changes as per the Resuscitation Council guidelines. Details of the last life support training were noted.
Results The study population consisted of 62 middle grades or registrars and 38 SHO. Results are shown in the table. The best response was seen in doctors who had recent resuscitation training (mostly in the last 6 months) and who were instructors for such courses.
Conclusion Competency in the delivery of emergency care cannot be assessed solely based on scores from questionnaires but they reflect the working knowledge of doctors. Life support courses provide excellent means of providing knowledge but the value of updates and scenarios based in house training as a part of the teaching curriculum cannot be overemphasised. The successful completion of a paediatric resuscitation course is a desirable criterion for entry into specialist training in the UK, but with more junior doctors on the SHO rota, paediatric life support should be mandatory during induction with assessment through appropriate tests. These steps could help the dissemination and retention of knowledge.