Help us shape our vision for the future of paediatrics in the UK

Russell reflects on the last year since we launched Paediatrics 2040, and invites all UK members to get involved with the project by completing our new survey.
RCPCH President Professor Russell Viner at the Paediatrics 2040 launch event

It’s been a while since I spoke to you all about our ambitious future visioning project, Paediatrics 2040. The start of a new year and a new decade, and the launch of our new survey, feels like a good moment to reflect on what we’ve achieved with the project so far, and where we plan to take it. 

Paediatrics 2040 launched with a bang almost a year ago, in February 2019. There was a lot of excitement as we got members and stakeholders in a room together for the first time to kick off our thinking about what paediatrics in the UK might look like in 20 years.  

When I look back across the last year, I realise how far we have come in a relatively short space of time. We’ve had 120 members, from medical students to retired consultants, working with us across our four lines of enquiry – data and evidence, innovation, models of care and working lives. 

Paediatrics 2040 - Data, Innovation, Working lives, Models of Care

We’ve been busy forecasting the future across all of these areas, and after many months of dedicated research behind the scenes, we’re getting ready to share what we’ve found later this year. We’re asking questions like, “What will children be ill with in 2040?”, “What does our workforce need to look like to support predicted healthcare activity?”, “What do we need to do to make sure innovations in health technology are suitable for using in future models of paediatric care?”

I hope you’re as excited as I am to find out the possible answers.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing more from each of our workstream leads about what’s been going on, and what they’ve got planned for 2020. 

Learning from the past and the present

It’s easy to be pessimistic about the future, especially as we know that paediatricians across the UK are facing a number of challenges. In preparing for our #ChoosePaediatrics campaign, we asked you about some of the biggest challenges facing our specialty. Unsurprisingly, more than half (58%) said workforce and rota gaps, followed by burnout (35%) and then work / life balance (34%). These issues are systemic and reflect an NHS that is stretched, stressed, and under-resourced. You also told us about other challenges like emotional strain, safeguarding and the duration of training. 

If we don’t dream about the future, it will happen to us in ways that we don’t want it to.

It’s important that we talk openly about the good days and the bad days when thinking about the future of our profession. Through the Paediatrics 2040 project we want to continue in our most vital role of ensuring you have the support and the resources to do a job that, even at the best of times, is tough and demanding.

Your future self

Hopefully, many of you will have had a chance to talk to us in person, as the team and I have been up and down the country talking to members about this exciting project. If we haven’t been to your region yet, do let us know - on paediatrics2040@rcpch.ac.uk - as we’d love to come and talk to you. 

A future hospital as imagined by 7-8 year olds at an RCPCH &Us event

In order to develop a robust, credible vision for the future, we want to hear from all UK members. So, we hope that you’ll accept our invitation and join us in our time machine to 2040 by completing our new survey. While we haven’t quite yet managed to build an actual time machine – although our RCPCH &Us network have come close this week by building us some fantastic future hospitals – for now we’ve built a survey that invites you to join us on our exciting journey to the future.

Help us develop our credible vision 

Through this survey, we want to hear from all our members across all four corners of the UK, from densely populated cities to small rural towns. This is your chance to tell us what you’d like to see in 20 years’ time, and if you were in charge, what you’d start to do now to make that vision a reality. We want the output of this project to be your future vision, for your College, for your working lives. I do hope you’ll find a few minutes to join us.

Tell us what you want to see in 20 years time - take our survey [survey closed on 1 March]