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Med Educ. 2002 May;36(5):449-55.

Paediatric training for family doctors: principals and practice.

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Chairman, Partners in Paediatrics Education Group, Keele University, UK.



There is controversy as to how best to train general practitioners for the paediatric challenges they will meet in practice, in particular what should be included in training, what should be left out and how long should it last?


All 615 general practice principals referring to 6 hospitals were surveyed (40% response rate).


West Midlands region of England.


Postal questionnaire.


Quantitative and qualitative assessment of responses. Quantitative responses were analysed by hospital, decade of qualification, and duration of paediatric training. Qualitative responses were analysed using grounded theory.


Satisfaction with training was directly related to its duration, with low levels of satisfaction for less than 6 months paediatrics, moderate levels for 6-11 months, and high levels with 12 months or more. The most important item of training was recognition of the sick child. Acute and chronic paediatrics was generally well covered. Psychosocial aspects, public health and immunisation were poorly addressed. Neonatal resuscitation and first day checks were seen as relevant, but neonatal intensive care was not.


At least 6 months of paediatrics is necessary for GPs in training, but longer paediatric exposure further increases their satisfaction with training. GPs have a biopsychosocial rather than biomedical approach to their child patients, suggesting potential benefits from a greater emphasis on psychosocial and public health aspects at the expense of neonatal intensive care. Recognition of the sick child is essential, and acute and chronic organic illness should be covered in breadth. Possible future models for GP training in paediatrics are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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