This page contains information on the specialty of paediatric cardiology, a higher medical specialty recruiting to ST4-level vacancies. 

Please note -  paediatric cardiology is not participating in the Physician Specialty Recruitment Office coordinated ST3 process .

Recruitment to paediatric cardiology is being coordinated by Health Education Wessex.

The specialty

Paediatric Cardiology is both a highly demanding and immensely fulfilling specialty. The care spectrum varies widely from well patients in a peripheral outpatient setting through to critically ill patients in intensive care. In many centres a ‘Paediatric’ Cardiologist will care for patients across a particularly broad age range, potentially from fetal life to the elderly. As such, the specialty offers the satisfaction of longitudinal care of patients, the majority of whom now survive operative procedures in infancy to live well into adulthood.

Whilst focused on a single organ system, the specialty closely interfaces with a multitude of other inpatient services and requires highly developed skills in team behaviour and communication. Most practitioners specialise in specific areas of interest, which may be non-invasive and outpatient-based through to highly invasive procedural work in unwell patients. Except in select instances,

Paediatric Cardiologists are required to work out of hours. The close association of the specialty to congenital surgical practice infers most Paediatric Cardiologists live and practice in a large city, as surgery is provided in a select few tertiary centres. It is usual for graduates from training to gain substantive consultant employment within the UK.

Training in Paediatric Cardiology

Paediatric Cardiology is almost unique in accepting recruits into training from both paediatric and adult internal medicine backgrounds. This reflects the need in many centres to practice across the paediatric and adult congenital spectrum seamlessly and the important skill sets that applicants from both backgrounds bring. Recruits from adult internal medicine are required to complete some requisite training in paediatrics prior to commencing in a Paediatric Cardiology post and all trainees undertake training in adult congenital medicine during training.

Entry to training is at ST4 level and consists of a five year program consisting of three years core training and two in an area of special interest. The length of training reflects the need to acquire experience in a broad range of rare conditions prior to consultancy. Further information pertaining to entry criteria and the person specification can be found on the Health Education Wessex website. The areas of special interest are currently:

  • Congenital and structural interventions
  • Cross-sectional imaging
  • Fetal cardiology
  • Heart failure and transplantation
  • Advanced echocardiography
  • Electrophysiology and pacing
  • Cardiac genetics and inheritable conditions
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Adult congenital heart disease (when practiced as a primary specialty this is most commonly approached through adult internal medicine and adult cardiology training)

Paediatric Cardiology trainee characteristics

Attributes that characterise a successful trainee may include:

  • An affinity with children
  • Ability to interact appropriately with anxious and upset parents and relatives
  • Highly motivated, hard-working
  • Strong 3D dimensional awareness / conceptualisation skills
  • A good degree of manual dexterity
  • Willingness to move between centres during or after training to gain individually-appropriate training
  • Interest in acquiring new procedural or investigative skill-sets not found in other specialties
  • Strong initiative and self-direction of training pathway in association with trainer-assistance
  • Ability to work busy shifts and practice safely in a pressurised environment
  • Excellent communication skills