Paediatric clinical pharmacology - sub-specialty

Paediatric clinical pharmacologists have expertise in the development of medicines and their safe, rational use. Find out more about this clinical area. Access the current syllabus for training in this clinical area, as well as the revised syllabus as of August/September 2021.

What makes a paediatric clinical pharmacologist?

A paediatric clinical pharmacologist is a clinician who has expertise in all aspects of the development of medicines and their safe, rational use. This includes research (from early phase clinical trials to translational), ethics, clinical practice, drug regulation and education.

In clinical practice, they provide advice and support locally and nationally regarding the introduction of new medicines, adverse drug reactions, poisoning and toxicity, and prescribing policies. They contribute to the ethical review of research, plus the safe and effective conduct and delivery of drug trials. Additional research skills developed during training include those in drug development, medicine safety and the rational use of medicines in children.

Clinical pharmacologists play a vital role in many areas that complement the use of medicines in children. Roles within drug regulation include developing local guidelines, advising on pharmacovigilance and serving on national committees. They contribute to the education of undergraduate and postgraduate healthcare professionals on drug metabolism, formulations and prescribing.

RCPCH Progress curriculum and syllabi for level 3 training

Since August 2018, trainees in paediatric clinical pharmacology use the RCPCH Progress level 3 generic syllabus alongside the RCPCH Progress paediatric clinical pharmacology sub-specialty syllabus. Download both documents below

In addition to the generic learning outcomes for level 3, paediatric clinical pharmacology trainees must fulfil the following sub-specialty learning outcomes:

  • Competently manages patients with adverse drug reactions (ADRs) and acute poisonings
  • Designs and plans a clinical trial of a medicine and understands the roles of the study team
  • Participates in the design, delivery and interpretation of paediatric clinical trials of medicines
  • Understands, advises and teaches on drug metabolism in children
  • Contributes to Trust, regional and national paediatric drug policy development and implementation
  • Advocates for the safe and effective evidence-based use of medicines in children

Revised syllabus as of August/September 2021

We spoke with clinicians working in this sub-specialty, and agreed some enhancements to the sub-specialty syllabus. The revised version is approved by the General Medical Council (GMC) for use as of August/September 2021. Download the revised syllabus below

A summary of the changes:

  • Original Learning Outcomes (LOs) 2 and 5 have been removed and replaced with new LOs 5 and 6.
  • One new illustration (number 2) has been added to LO 1. LO 2 (previously known as LO 3) and a Key Capability (KC) has been moved amended. 
  • LO 3 (previously known as LO 4) has also been moved and one new KC added. 
  • LO 4 (previously known as LO 5) has been moved and two new KC added; six new illustrations (numbers 17 - 22) have also been added. 
  • LO 5 and LO 6 have been newly added. 
  • The Assessment Grid has since been updated to reflect changes to the KCs.

You can find out more about the updates to this and other sub-specialty syllabi. If you have any questions contact us on