Paediatric intensive care medicine - sub-specialty

The paediatric intensive care physician resuscitates, stabilises, transfers and treats critically ill and injured children.

Read about this clinical area and download the syllabi for both sub-specialty and for generic specialty training.

Introduction to this sub-specialty

The paediatric intensive care physician (PICP) is a clinician from a paediatric intensive care or anaesthetic background who resuscitates, stabilises, transfers and treats critically ill and injured children. They identify those children who need intensive care support and are skilled at the procedures and techniques necessary to deliver that support. They are highly skilled at directing, leading and coordinating both medical and surgical resuscitation, and can prioritise and respond to new and urgent clinical situations.

The PICP treats children with a wide range of life-threatening pathologies within emergency, transfer and intensive care settings. They interact with, coordinate, educate and supervise all members of the multi-professional intensive care team, understanding the unique interaction of the intensive care unit with every component of the hospital. They work in difficult and challenging environments within the emergency, transfer and intensive care settings. The PICP also coordinates and delivers appropriate care when a major incident has occured.

PICM specialty recognition within Intensive Care Medicine

Paediatric Intensive Care Medicine (PICM) is approved by the General Medical Council (GMC) as a specialty of Intensive Care Medicine. The Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine (FICM) sets the training requirements for adult Intensive Care Medicine (ICM). Trainees engaged in a Single or Dual CCT in ICM can undertake specialty accreditation in PICM via the Grid Training Programme.

Single ICM CCT trainees incorporate the PICM training into the exiting programme, which requires no extension of training time. Trainees undertaking Dual CCTs in ICM and a partner specialty (e.g. Anaesthesia) may also wish to apply for the PICM Specialty Programme. Undertaking Dual CCTs and specialty recognition, however, will result in a significantly prolonged period of training with an additional 24 months required.

The full details of how PICM can be incorporated into the ICM training programme can be found within the FICM’s ICM CCT curriculum in the downloads section below (see page 21).

Training in this sub-specialty

In summer 2023, we launched RCPCH Progress+, our updated, two-level paediatric training programme in the UK.

Paediatricians start in core training, and then move on to specialty training - when some choose to apply to train in a paediatric sub-specialty, such as PICM.

The Progress+ curriculum provides a framework for paediatric training, and outlines the Learning Outcomes and Key Capabilities required at each stage before attaining the Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT).

The RCPCH Progress+ syllabi support the curriculum with further guidance on how the Learning Outcomes can be achieved and demonstrated, with sub-specialty Learning Outcomes. You can download the Progress+ syllabi for this sub-specialty and for specialty training (generic) below. 

Trainees due to CCT by September 2024 continue to use the Progress curriculum and syllabi; you can also download the the Progress syllabi below.