RCPCH Member survey 2020 - findings

This autumn we invited all members to complete our survey to find out your thoughts on our benefits and advocacy work, your working lives and wellbeing, as well as how we're doing on equality, diversity and inclusion. Find our key findings below, and scroll down to download the full report.
Last modified
3 September 2021

Response rate

The membership stood at 19,686 when we launched the survey. In total 2,916 responses were submitted. The response rate of 14.8% falls short of the target rate of 20% but does represent an increase of around 5% on the previous two member surveys.  

The average time taken to complete the survey was just under 12 minutes, which represents a 30% reduction on the 2018 survey.   

Membership satisfaction and benefits

Membership satisfaction has increased since 2018 from a weighted average of 3.64 to 3.70. This was driven by a significant increase in the percentage of members who are very satisfied with their membership (increased from 9.5% to 14.2%). All comparable member benefits are now rated more positively than they were in 2018, with the following notable improvements:

  • Significant increase for child protection resources and clinical guidelines
  • Significant reduction in number of members “not aware” of College careers service, as well as increased rating overall
  • Archives of Disease in Childhood remains the most popular member benefit, alongside our child protection resources

This survey also asked members to indicate how much they agreed with a series of statements relating to the College and our activities as shown in the below flowchart:


Responding to COVID-19 and adapting to remote working

We wanted to understand how you feel the College has responded to the many challenges posed by COVID-19. Your response suggests that many of our new activities that emerged in light of the pandemic have been effective.

It is pleasing to note that not only was our advice for children, parents and families the highest rated activity, but all the activities, ranging from support for trainees to quality improvement to wellbeing, rated very highly.

Just like many NHS services, the College has had to adapt to remote working and has moved many services online. We asked what your priorities are for online events and you told us that delivering CPD courses and seminars online is the top priority.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

The College has strongly committed to making the College more diverse and inclusive. Hopefully you have seen the recent action plan, which was published this Autumn.  

We also asked you where the College should focus our efforts in tackling inequalities. The two highest priorities you identified are:

  • Ensuring diversity of speakers and panellists at College events
  • Tackling inequalities experienced by underrepresented children and young people communities

Differential attainment in postgraduate medical education of groups with protected characteristics emerged as the second lowest rated option, along with the nominations process for Clinical Excellence Awards (ACCEA).

When we segment this data based on the protected characteristics data, we see some notable findings:

  • Members who consider themselves to have a disability identified tackling workplace bullying as the joint highest priority along with tackling inequalities experienced by underrepresented children and young people communities.
  • Respondents who identified as Black feel that the impact of COVID-19 on BAME healthcare staff is the biggest priority for the College.

Retention and wellbeing

Retention continues to be a key strategic priority for the College. We asked you what activities you feel are important in addressing the issues that lead to paediatricians leaving the specialty.  

Perhaps inevitably given the complexity of the issue, the results showed that our approach must be multi-layered. You said that campaigning for increased funding for paediatric services and working with key stakeholders are both vital, but so is supporting you to have flexible portfolio careers.  

You also provided over 1,100 suggestions for tackling retention, which just goes to show how motivated you are to tackle these systemic issues and ensure paediatrics is a fulfilling and rewarding career path. 

International members

International members indicated that online learning and international conferences would add more benefit to their membership than regional global ambassadors or online networking/forums.  

This is timely in the context of our RCPCH Singapore conference, which is taking place online in March next year.   


Gender – 58% of survey respondents are women, compared with 64% of the overall membership, which suggests we still have work to do to ensure our survey data is representative of the overall membership. However, the percentage of female respondents increased by 3% from the 2018 survey, which suggests this year’s survey offers a more representative dataset than in 2018.

Disability – 3.5% of respondents indicated that they consider themselves to have a disability, compared with 3% of the overall membership. However, only 32% of the overall members have provided an answer to this question, so our comparative data is not as robust as we would like. Interestingly, only 1.1.% of respondents chose ‘prefer not to say’ compared with 11% of the overall membership, perhaps reflecting greater enthusiasm to disclose information about disability.

Ethnicity – The ethnicity of respondents is consistent with the overall membership data from 2019, with a slightly lower percentage of Asian members responding to the survey, as shown in the below pie charts.


Career grade and working pattern

The chart below shows the different careers grades of survey respondents, compared to the overall membership. There was a notable increase in the number of trainees and specialty doctors who completed the 2020 survey, while the proportion of consultants decreased by around 1%.

Career grade 2020 - overall membership 2020 survey 2018 survey
Paediatric consultant 55.80% 47.8% 48.8%
Paediatric trainee 23.60% 27.3% 24.0%
SAS or non training grade doctor 5.70% 11.3% 5.2%
Other (please specify) N/a 5.5% 8.2%
Retired paediatrician 4.70% 5.2% 5.9%
Foundation doctor 2% 1.0% 1.1%
I work in another specialty N/a 0.9% 3%
Medical student 6.6% 0.7% 0.8%
Physician Associate (PA) 0.06% 0.2% N/a
Advanced Clinical Practitioner (ACP) 0.11% 0.2% N/a

The percentage of respondents working full time increased slightly from 2018 from 70% to 71.9%.


The percentage of respondents outside the UK increased from 24.7% in 2018 to 25.9% in 2020.  This is reflected by a similar increase in the overall percentage of international members since 2018. International members continue to be slightly over-represented in the membership survey, which is testament to their desire to engage with, and provide feedback to, the College.  

The response rates from members in each of the devolved nations is consistent with the previous survey and the current demographics of the overall College membership. We have undertaken an analysis of the results which shows no significant variation between the findings across each of the four UK nations.

We've heard you and we're taking action. We outline our responses to the member survey findings - from adapting to COVID-10 and beyond to focusing on retention, from representing members in our campaigns to supporting our diverse international membership. See our action plan