Neonatal medicine - sub-specialty

Neonatologists are paediatric specialists whose expertise is looking after newborn infants or those born prematurely. Find out more about this sub-specialty and its curriculum.

What makes a neonatologist?

A neonatologist provides comprehensive care to the critically-ill infant in the neonatal intensive care unit whilst ensuring the care of well term infants on the postnatal ward. The spectrum of clinical conditions and the care required is vast, from the term baby with feeding issues on the postnatal ward to the sick, fragile, extremely preterm baby with multiple problems.

Neonatologists often face difficult discussions with families in the antenatal and postnatal environment regarding counselling about care, management, prognostication and, potentially, palliative care. Ethical and medicolegal knowledge and its application are central to many of these discussions.

Whilst providing team leadership and clinical and skills training, the neonatologist is also expected to be able to perform challenging technical procedures.

Long-term follow-up with developmental screening until two years of age is provided in this role. It is the combination of intensive care skills, ethical and emotional support, and clinical follow-up that make this a unique speciality.

RCPCH Progress curriculum

As of 1 August 2018, sub-specialty trainees use the RCPCH Progress level 3 generic syllabus alongside the RCPCH Progress neonatal medicine syllabus. Both can be downloaded below.

Sub-specialty learning outcomes

In addition to the generic learning outcomes for level 3, neonatal medicine trainees must fulfil the requirements below:

  • Provides comprehensive care to the critically ill infant on the neonatal intensive care unit, whilst ensuring the care of well term infants on the postnatal ward.
  • Communicates expertly with parents or carers and other staff in the antenatal and postnatal environment.
  • Demonstrates effective and appropriate follow-up of babies following neonatal intensive care.

Any queries, please contact

CSAC process for trainee reviews

We have been working with the Heads of Schools from around the UK to progress with the yearly CSAC progression form with the aim of achieving some external review for trainees.

After gathering feedback from trainees and Schools, the revised process focuses on local supervisor curriculum assessment to encourage more formal progress review. This will be followed by remote CSAC panel review. Videoconference or teleconference discussion with the trainee will be conducted at this time to avoid long distance travel.

For further guidance, please review our Neonatal ARCP Guide in the resources below.

If you have any questions, please approach the Head of School or Neonatal Grid coordinator in your local region first. Then, if no response, contact the CSAC Assessment Advisor - see contact details on the CSAC page.