Paediatric palliative medicine - sub-specialty

Paediatric palliative medicine (PPM) doctors work with babies, children and young people with life-limiting conditions and life-threatening illness, and their families.

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

Introduction to this sub-specialty

A paediatric palliative medicine (PPM) doctor has expertise working with neonates, infants, children and young people with life-limiting conditions and life-threatening illness, and their families. These conditions include malignancy; inherited disorders; cardiac, neurological and neuromuscular diseases; and a variety of rare progressive and irreversible conditions.

PPM doctors work alongside multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) across hospital, hospice and community settings, providing a total approach to care and focusing on quality of life. The approach embraces physical, emotional, social and spiritual elements. These consultants provide:

  • specialist symptom management (eg nausea, pain, breathlessness, and agitation)
  • guidance on advance care planning (eg the preferred place of care, and ceilings of care)
  • guidance on end-of-life and bereavement care
  • support with complex ethical decisions (eg feeding and hydration).

The PPM doctor also plays a vital role in supporting other healthcare professionals to care for children with life-limiting conditions.

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 palliative medicine.

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.