This page contains information on the specialty of paediatric cardiology, a higher medical specialty recruiting to ST4-level vacancies.

Please note - paediatric cardiology is not participating in the national Physician ST3 recruitment process.

Recruitment to paediatric cardiology is being coordinated by Health Education Wessex.

The specialty

Paediatric care is a fascinating and challenging specialty that appeals to those who want to make a difference. Most congenital heart conditions are treatable and the majority of children treated will survive to adulthood.

It appeals to those who like using practical skills, needed for echocardiography and catheter intervention treatment and there is the opportunity to work in a high intensity multidisciplinary team.

Longitudinal care from fetal life to adulthood also results in a high level of job satisfaction and it is just great to work with children.

Paediatric cardiology trainee characteristics

Positive attributes that are helpful in paediatric cardiology include:

  • good team-working and 'people' skills

  • enthusiasm for the specialty

  • an enquiring mind

  • an ability to work under pressure.

Working in paediatric cardiology

Paediatric cardiology is unusual in that trainees may enter the specialty from adult medical training or from paediatric training. Entry is therefore at ST4 level ie after 3 years of core paediatric training (ST1-3) or after 2 years of CMT training followed by acquisition of ST1 paediatric competencies, which usually takes a further year.

It is advantageous for paediatric training to be undertaken prior to application for paediatric cardiology training by undertaking locum paediatric posts (LAT).

For those who have not been able to gain this experience prior to application, some Deaneries may be able to offer this training prior to commencement of paediatric cardiology training. However, this will delay entry to training and may be disadvantageous at interview or job application.

Paediatric cardiology training takes 5 years with an initial 3 years of core training followed by 2 years of training in one or more special interest areas.

These special interest areas are:

  • cardiac catheterisation and catheter intervention

  • cardiac pacing, electrophysiology and ablation

  • fetal cardiology

  • adolescent and adult congenital heart disease

  • advanced echocardiography

  • transplantation cardiology

  • pulmonary hypertension

  • advanced imaging (MRI and CT).

There are therefore many different paths that a trainee may take before becoming a consultant in paediatric cardiology and there are opportunities for everyone to find their 'niche' that they enjoy with a suitable job prospect.

Nationally there is a need to continue recruiting paediatric cardiologists as consultant numbers remain below optimum levels and there is a move to develop a smaller number of larger specialist surgical centres