Background The paediatric national grid training programme coordinates training to gain necessary competencies in order to attain CCT in paediatric subspecialties. One important aim of this programme is workforce planning to ensure sufficient numbers of paediatric subspecialists are trained for UK service. Entry into this scheme is by competitive selection process.
Aims Approximately 10 years after the start of this programme we aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of the national grid system in workforce planning for paediatric subspecialties.
Methods As a pilot, all paediatricians who attained CCT through training on the paediatric national grid programme in paediatric infectious diseases (ID)/immunology/allergy, oncology and respiratory medicine to date were invited by e-mail to complete an anonymous online survey.
Results The response rate was 10/12 (83%), 12/15 (80%), 15/27 (56%) for respiratory, ID/immunology/allergy and oncology trained paediatricians respectively. Overall 90% of respondents are working in the sub-speciality in which they trained, 18% of these with their subspecialty as special interest. Of those working purely in subspecialty 2/3 do predominantly clinical work, the remainder work either in research, or a combination of the two. All respondents entered training intending to work purely in their subspecialty. Of 9 respondents not working in pure sub-speciality, 1 changed intention due to career interest and 2 due to lifestyle choice, 4 due to lack of consultant posts and 2 are working primarily in subspecialty within a general paediatrics post. Three are not working in their sub-speciality at all and whilst 1 of these was by choice, 2 have been unable to obtain a subspecialty consultant post. Half of the respondents considered the national grid programme to be effective in workforce planning.
Conclusion The outcome of this pilot survey demonstrates that paediatric trainees enter sub-speciality training in order to progress to a career within this area but only three-quarters achieve this aim. The main reason for not working in sub-speciality is a lack of job availability suggesting that grid training and workforce planning are currently not entirely in-line. We will extend this survey to the remaining 13 paediatric subspecialties and with this information propose how workforce planning in paediatric subspecialties can be improved.