About the workforce census

Through key objective questions, the census allows for essential information about the UK’s paediatric services to be collected and reported for workforce planning and associated activities. The findings also act as a measure against current standards and guidance.

Workforce Census 2022

In early 2022 we sent the Census to College members - paediatric consultants and SAS doctors working in the UK - for individual response, with each recipient answering 20 questions via a dedicated microsite. There were 1,515 from across the ten NHS Regions (seven in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales), or about 19%. We'd like to thank everyone who contributed.

In October 2022, we published our full report and an overview of our recommendations and key findings.

Why do we conduct a census?

The workforce census gives us a detailed picture of paediatric and child health services and staffing in the UK. From previous census data, we've released reports on the UK overall, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as a spotlight on SAS doctors and vulnerable children and families workforce.

The data help with workforce planning. We take information about shortages to top-level decision-makers and government to campaign for greater prioritisation of child health workforce. For example, the 100% response rate in Scotland allowed us to successfully argue for an increase in training places in 2019.

Our 2020 census had to be paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the unprecedented times, it was essential for us to focus our attention on conducting data collection on the impact of COVID-19 on child health services.

Who was asked to submit a response and how?

In 2022, we devised a new, low-burden route for data collection: we moved to an individual response approach (the previous method entailed Clinical Leads and Directors responding on behalf of their Trust/ Health Board), and all paediatric consultants and SAS doctors working in the UK were asked to fill in the survey on a dedicated microsite, taking less than 10 minutes to complete.

We also significantly reduced the number of questions posed to focus on key objective information at that stage.

A dedicated microsite was specifically built for this purpose and integrated into our in-house membership database. The form contained key workforce questions for the respondent to complete and the process took around 10 minutes or less.

What information do we collect?

The form comprised of 20 close-ended questions on paediatric workforce and child health services in the UK. The full census questions are available to download at the bottom of the page, and summarised below.

1. About you

Paediatric Consultants and SAS doctors working in the UK had access to the form for completion. Upon logging in to the form, you were asked for your name, GMC number, and the Trust/ Health Board/equivalent which you work in.

2. About your grade and job type

Information about the grade of your current primary appointment (Consultant, Professor, Reader, Senior Lecturer, Specialty Doctor, Associate Specialist, Staff Grade) and your primary job type - General, community, split general/community, specialist.

3. Specialty

If you are a specialist, we asked for information as to what your primary sub-specialty is.

4. Contract

Information about your current working pattern, contract type along with how your contract is measured: programmed activities (PAs) or whole time equivalent (WTE). Other information requested included:

  • Insight about how your PAs are allocated, ie to direct clinical care, research, leadership, out of hours (OOH), and supporting programmed activities (SPAs).
  • Whether you do on call, how frequently, and whether this is for general, neonatology, or specialist area, and how frequently.

5. Retirement

We asked respondents to provide insight into whether they have a planned retirement age/ age bracket and as well as if they intend to do any further NHS work after retirement.

The impact of COVID-19

Data collection for the Census 2020 was launched in January 2020 but had to be halted in March 2020 before completion due to the pandemic. Some other workforce-related work during the pandemic:

  • Information about our ‘Impact of COVID-19 on child health services tool’ can be accessed here, and Phase 1 (April- July 2020) report and Phase 2 (December 2020- February 2021) Winter Alert system report
  • Prioritising paediatric staff and space so every child has access to care