Donald Paterson Award

In memory of Dr Donald Paterson, this award is given to a pre-consultant grade medical practitioner working in the UK for the best article on any subject related to paediatrics. Our next round of applications open in September 2024, with the award granted in 2025.

About Donald Paterson

Dr Donald Paterson

Donald Paterson (1890 - 1969) was born in Canada and obtained a B.A. in science at Manitoba College and then an M.D. at Edinburgh University. He served in WW1 in the British army for three years, starting at the Battle of the Somme. In 1921 he obtained an MRCP while working (without pay) at both the Hospital for Sick Children on Great Ormond Street and at Westminster Hospital, while at the same time building a large consulting practice. In 1928 he co-founded the British Paediatric Association (BPA), serving as Secretary and President. He was a prolific writer. His monograph “Diseases of Children” became, after eight editions, Donald Paterson’s Sick Children.

At the start of WW2 Donald Paterson sent his Canadian-born wife Dorothy and their four sons to Canada, remaining in London throughout the Blitz. As children were being evacuated from the city, he set up outpatient clinics in six smaller hospitals around London, visiting them himself every week. Alarmed by the lack of coordination in the health system, he and his colleagues at the BPA presented a brief to the Ministry of Health, starting an important liaison between British Paediatrics and the government, sowing the seed for the introduction of the National Health Service.

In 1947, at the summit of his profession, Donald Paterson returned to Canada, requiring him first to obtain professional accreditation by examination. In Vancouver he found an acute shortage of child treatment facilities, and set about raising funds to build a Health Centre for Children at the Vancouver General Hospital. In 1947 the latter institution saw some 300 children as outpatients; by 1953 the number had risen to 15,000. Donald Paterson was made Clinical Professor of Paediatrics and given responsibility for outpatient teaching.

Recent winners

The 2023 winner was Dr Joseph Ward for his research paper, Risk factors for PICU admission and death among children and young people hospitalized with COVID-19 and PIMS-TS in England during the first pandemic year. In his short interview with us, Joseph explains his interest in population determinants and reminds us that all researchers have knock-backs and failures.

The 2021 winner was Dr Tom Waterfield for his paper, Validating clinical practice guidelines for the management of children with non-blanching rashes in the UK. In his interview, Tom tells us more about this research project and how his academic work can help him "develop new, better ways of doing things for my patients". 

About the award

The Donald Paterson award has been running for over 50 years and is awarded to a pre-consultant grade medical practitioner working in the UK for the best article on any subject related to paediatrics. The paper needs to be published, or accepted to publication within two years of the award entry deadline.

Submitted articles are reviewed by an adjudicating committee established by the Academic Board of the RCPCH and are judged with respect to innovation, presentation, quality and scientific value.

The winner is awarded at RCPCH Conference. The winner receives £200 and a certificate, in addition to expenses covered for travel and a day entry pass to the Conference.

How to enter your submission

The award is currently closed and not taking submissions. (The application forms are available to download for reference.)

We will open applications for the 2025 award in September 2024. If you would like any further information please contact