Aims To study the cohort of paediatric trainees who began run-through training in 2007 to establish: (1) Their career intentions; (2) The level of confidence they have about their career choices; (3) Training status i.e. exam passes, out of programme experience, current grade; (4) Attrition from training.
Methods In 2008 an on-line questionnaire was sent to all 440 doctors who commenced paediatric training in 2007. 348 (79.1%) responded. In 2011, a second on-line questionnaire relating to the 3rd year after the start of training was sent to the same group including previous non-responders and 354 (80.5%) responded.
Results A comparison of the career intentions of the cohort and the consultant workforce shows wide variations. Table 1 showed that only 7.4% of trainees intend to be consultant community paediatricians, yet they represented 21.2% of the consultant workforce in 2009. 52.8% wished to work as subspecialty consultants (including neonatology) compared to 32.4% of consultants working as subspecialists in the 2009 Census.
2) 46% of the cohort indicated a preference to work less than full time as a trained paediatrician compared to 17.8% of consultants in 2009 with contracts of less than 10 PAs.
3) Confidence about obtaining a consultant post fell between part 1 and part 2 of the study (table 2). Of 287 trainees who wished to be a consultant in part 2, 87 (30.3%) were not confident, compared to 23.3% in part 1 of the study.
4) 39 of the original cohort are no longer training in paediatrics - an attrition rate of 15% over the ST1-3 years of the training programme.
Conclusion Expectations and intentions of trainee paediatricians in respect of their future career vary considerably from the current trained workforce structure. The number and percentage of doctors who leave paediatric training is high and needs to be addressed. There has been a decrease in trainees' confidence in obtaining consultant posts.