A paediatric surgeon manages neonates, children, and young adults up to the age of 19 years, with conditions that require paediatric surgery, such as appendicitis, hernias, and pyloric stenosis.
The Royal Society of Medicine offers a range of events for different surgical specialties, including Paediatric Surgery – see a full list on our Events page>>
Entry Route into Paediatric Surgery
Applicants must have completed the two-year Foundation Programme before they are eligible to apply for Core Surgical Training, followed by higher speciality training in Paediatric Surgery, starting at ST3.
Core Surgical Training takes two years to complete, and covers a variety of surgical specialties. Trainees must complete the MRCS examinations during the first two years of training.
After completing Core Surgical Training, applicants need to apply for ST3 posts to progress to higher speciality training. Trainees must have at least 24 months’ experience in surgery, excluding foundation modules, that should include training in either paediatric or neonatal critical care. They should also have six months’ experience in Paediatric Surgery, and six months’ experience in General Surgery.
Job Progression as a Paediatric Surgeon
Higher speciality training in Paediatric Surgery takes at least six years to complete (ST3-8). Before applying for consultant posts, trainees must complete examinations for Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS). After this, trainees can apply for consultant positions six months before obtaining their CCT.
Many consultants develop further expertise in areas of special interest including
- neonatal surgery,
- hepatobiliary surgery,
- urological surgery,
- gastrointestinal surgery, and
- oncological surgery.
There are opportunities to work in management as a clinical lead, or a clinical or medical director. There are also formal opportunities to become involved in the education and training of junior doctors by working as
- a director of medical education overseeing postgraduate medical training,
- a training programme director responsible for the education of trainee doctors in the local region, or
- an associate dean responsible for managing the training programme.
Trainees interested in an academic career can apply for an academic clinical fellowship. Alternatively, trainees can continue the ST clinical training programme after ST4 level.
In 2017, the competition ratio at ST3 was 4.08, with 49 applications for 12 posts. The competition ratio for Core Surgical Training was 2.56, with 1,608 applications for 629 posts.
In December 2017, there were
- 189 consultants,
- 3 associate specialists,
- 6 speciality doctors,
- 4 staff grades,
- 158 speciality registrars,
- 29 core trainees,
- 12 F2 trainees, and
- 4 F1 trainees.
The starting salary for junior doctors in England ranges from £26,614 to £46,208, and from £37,923 to £87,521 for speciality doctors. Consultants can expect to earn between £76,761 and £103,490. There are additional supplements for on-call work, antisocial hours, and other commitments. For additional information, please check our page on pay scales.
A Day in the Life of a Paediatric Surgeon
Most specialised Paediatric Surgery takes place in paediatric hospitals, or paediatric surgical units within larger hospitals, and the workload can be varied and unpredictable. In addition to performing surgical procedures, daily work includes attending ward rounds, and reviewing patients in outpatient clinics. On call rotas for consultants are typically one-in-four to one-in-seven, including the weekends.