Children and young people tell us about the “best doctor of the future”

As part of our Shape of training programme, we asked thousands of children and young people what knowledge, skills and attitude the paediatrician of the future needs. The top themes? Being respectful, kind and friendly, being listened to and understood, having good communication focused on age and needs.
What children and young people say | My wish for child health is that children and young people are given the power and tools to make decisions that affect their lives. The only way to do know what we want is to ask us and talk to us. | And | We are the future. Services need to be part of them to help them be what we need, and this means you need to ask us and then do something with what we say. | RCPCH &Us


RCPCH &Us is a children, young people and family network, working with over 2,000 young patients, their families and friends across the UK each year. Through the work of RCPCH &Us we keep children and young people at the centre of everything we do, supporting their voice to inform, influence and shape the work of RCPCH.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is a framework for our work to support children and young people to have their views involved in decisions that affect them (article 12) and to be able to have the best health services possible (article 24).

Finding out what children and young people think

As part of the College's Shape of training programme, we hosted workshops with children and young people of all ages, backgrounds and experiences across the UK to find out what makes the best “doctor of the future”.

We wanted to know:

  • What doctors need to know about when working with children and young people
  • What their approach and style needs to be when working with children and young people

Over 400 children and young people - from primary school children (age 7) to young adults (age 21) - got involved and shared their views. Our workshops were delivered in different settings: in schools during lesson time, in youth clubs through group work, at youth project sessions and semi-structured interviews with children, young people and their families in clinic waiting areas.

The knowledge, skills and attitudes that doctors of the future need

We looked at all the thousands of ideas and suggestions shared at our workshops.

Here are the top three:

  • Being respectful, kind, supportive and having a friendly approach
  • Having good medical conduct where we feel listened to, understood and you are aware of other conditions that I might have that are important to me but maybe not part of your specialism e.g. acne, growing pains
  • Having good communication that is focused on age and needs

This chart shows more detail.


We also looked at feedback from our sessions with different groups of children and young people around the country, which looked at health conditions, health experiences and wishes for the future. This helped us identify learning for each training principle that has been outlined in the College's Paediatrician of the Future document. These included:

  • Know more about me as a person and what goes on for my family
  • Recognise mental health needs are as important as physical health
  • Think about different ways you can share information with me and communicate with me
  • Involve me in discussions and decisions about my health and the development of your service, your training and assessments
  • Find out from me the best way to work with me or for me to feel comfortable in your health service
  • Work together with others so that it is easier for me to get the help I need
  • Look after each other as doctors

How we're supporting Shape of training

We have shared the findings with the Shape of training team at RCPCH to inform their thinking and to include examples from children and young people throughout Paediatrician of the Future.

There are lots of views, ideas and even resources created by children and young people that can help all the doctors in training now or in the future to be the best doctor they can be.

You can find more resources and support available from RCPCH &Us - explore our listing of resources or get in touch on