Paediatric Deanery Profiles: West Midlands

Where?

The West Midlands is a geographically diverse area of central England comprising the urban areas of Birmingham, the second largest city in the UK; Stratford Upon Avon, the home of Shakespeare; as well as a number of areas of outstanding natural beauty including the Shropshire Hills, Cannock Chase and the Malvern Hills.

The population of the West Midlands is highly diverse which offers a rich clinical training experience. Birmingham has also been designated as the youngest major capital in Europe with under 25s accounting for almost 40% of the population, providing a huge number of paediatric patients of whom to take care.

What hospitals are involved in paediatric training in your deanery?

The following hospitals have paediatric posts in the West Midlands. Included as a guide is the travel time from the centre of Birmingham:

The deanery also includes five level 3 neonatal intensive care units at Birmingham Women’s Hospital, Wolverhampton, Coventry and Warwickshire, Heartlands and University Hospital of North Midlands.

Does your deanery divide into smaller geographical areas?

The deanery is divided into 4 small geographic sectors:

  • North 1 – University Hospital of North Midlands, Telford, Burton
  • North 2 – Royal Wolverhampton Hospital, Walsall, The Dudley Group (Russell’s Hall)
  • South 1 – Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals, Worcester, Hereford
  • South 2 – Birmingham Heartlands Hospital, University Hospital of Coventry and Warwickshire, South Warwickshire

There may be some crossover within the North 1 and 2 and the South 1 and 2 sectors.

The deanery aims to ensure the majority of core level 1 training (ST1-2) is in a single geographical area. During post offer preferences you will be able to preference rotations within the area accepted (West Midlands North or West Midlands South). Please look at the list of example rotations for an idea of what is offered in each sector. The placements are allocated based on preferences and performance at the selection interviews.

Aims of level 1 Training

During the level 1 training the aim is for:

1. At least two general Paediatric posts at level 1 training.

2. Two 6-month neonatal posts in order to achieve competence in neonatal procedures.

Out of the 1 year of neonatal posts, at least 6 months should be spent in a Neonatal Intensive Care unit (NICU). The 5 NICUs in the region are Birmingham Women’s Hospital (BWH), Birmingham Heartlands Hospital (BHH), Royal Wolverhampton Hospital (RWH), University Hospital of Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) and University Hospital of North Midlands (UHNM).

3. ST3 Post working on a Middle Grade Rota / Community or other Speciality posts (Including community, CAMHS, cardiology, ED, PICU, gastroenterology, paediatric surgery, hepatology, haematology / oncology, metabolic, endocrine, respiratory, neurology) for 6 months.

What would a typical ST1-3 look like in your deanery?

The aim is for all ST1-3 trainees to get 12months experience in general paediatrics and 12 months in neonatology, including 6 months in a level 3 neonatal unit. Each ST1 post includes 6 months of general paediatrics and 6 months of neonatology as a general introduction to paediatric training. These posts may be undertaken in any order. There are also opportunities for trainees in level 1 training to get sub-speciality placements including at Birmingham Children’s Hospital and in community paediatrics. ST3 rotations consist of further experience in general paediatrics with many posts being those formerly labelled as Senior SHO posts with second on call responsibilities, neonatal paediatrics in a level 3 unit or further sub-specialty paediatrics.

What would ST4-5 consist of in your deanery?

ST4 and 5 rotations will consist of four posts of six months each, two in general Paediatrics, neonatology and community paediatrics. Posts will have second on call responsibilities and may be undertaken in any order. The geographical regions are as outlined above, and we will endeavour to place you into either of your top 2 choices. Most of the Community Paediatric posts have on-calls within a Neonatal unit, although some have General Paediatric on-calls. Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital is not included in any of the above regions, but you may be placed in any of their posts, particularly if you have a specific interest in any of the sub-specialities.

What subspecialities are on offer in your deanery?

The West Midlands offers a huge variety of grid speciality posts, as well as SPIN opportunities for trainees. Many of these posts include experience at the world-renowned Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Posts include neonatal medicine (5 neonatal intensive care units), community paediatrics, paediatric intensive care (2 units) paediatric emergency medicine, paediatric intensive care, gastroenterology, cardiology, hepatology, haematology / oncology, metabolic medicine, endocrine, respiratory, neurology.

Are there any unique opportunities available in your deanery such as scholarships or OOPE?

There are a number of varied opportunities for out of programme opportunities in research, leadership, teaching, and additional clinical experiences. Some of the available roles in the West Midlands include undergraduate and postgraduate paediatric teaching roles, paediatric and neonatal simulation fellows, leadership roles for Health Education England, a global health partnership between Birmingham Children’s Hospital and a hospital in Malawi, intensive care clinical roles in adult and paediatric medicine, as well as research opportunities for PhD.

There is an acute Paediatrics OOPE in ST3, offering a year of anaesthetics and adult ITU out of programme and a year of ED and PICU in the ST3 year.

There are Teaching Fellow posts in University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire, Birmingham Children’s Hospital (ED and General Paediatrics). There are specific Simulation Fellow posts which at present are based at New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton (General Paediatrics) and Birmingham Women’s Hospital (Neonatology) and these posts are both supervised by the relevant Simulation Training Programme Directors. There are numerous research opportunities based at University of Birmingham and Keele University.

Are there any negatives to training in your deanery?

The geographical size of the West Midlands can be daunting to apply to the region; however, it ensures a rich training experience with exposure to a wide variety of patients and clinical conditions.

We have recently changed our teaching programme to include a large amount of remote learning so that trainees can fully engage in the programme without unnecessary travel, although we also pride ourselves on high quality face to face training when necessary.

We try to mitigate the distance to travel by aiming to place people in appropriate geographical locations. We also send out a preference form for each training year from ST6-8 to try a facilitate work-life balance.

Why should prospective trainees want to train in your deanery?

The West Midlands is home to an incredibly multi-cultural and diverse population which provides a rich clinical training experience that ensures you get exposure to a wide spectrum of patients and pathologies. This provides an excellent background knowledge and experience which is important not only for passing membership exams, but also for the rest of your paediatric career.

As a paediatric trainee you will rotate through large teaching hospitals and district general hospitals including centres for excellence in neonatology, cardiology, neuromuscular, metabolic medicine and infectious disease, amongst others!

The West Midlands provides lots of support for paediatric trainees through a peer mentoring scheme, an active trainee representative committee, peer support unit providing exam and pastoral support as well as monthly newsletters. An annual, updated ARCP checklist provides trainees with clear support and guidance to ensure career progression.

There are also a huge number of well-established out of programme opportunities, clinical fellowships and opportunities to develop your own interests within paediatrics.

Research is encouraged within the region, and the deanery have a designated trainee research group (PRAM) which conducts multi-centre research projects, audits and QIPs. There are also opportunities to conduct your own research interests and take time out of training to complete a PhD in sub-speciality paediatrics.

Teaching in the West Midlands is protected with monthly regional teaching days and a huge variety of free simulation courses including SHINE (Simulation to Help in Neonatal Emergencies), CAMHS ABC and a STEPS (stepping up to the middle grade role). We access supported return to training courses for all trainees who have been out of training for longer times, e.g., sickness or parental leave.

The School of Paediatrics is an active school, with TPDs who have responsibility for all aspects of training and who work closely with the Trainees Committee. We are keen to engage with people who want to shape paediatric training and are building close links with allied specialities for cross school education and projects. We produce a monthly newsletter which includes details of new developments, teaching, engagement opportunities and so much more. We have close links with our Professional Support and Wellbeing Unit (PSW) and are proactive in supporting trainees managing challenges that may impact on their work-life balance. There are regional awards for both trainees and trainers.

The West Midlands is also a great place to live and work. There are lots of places to enjoy the outdoors; Birmingham has more canals than Venice, there are lots of parks and open spaces including the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, and the Malvern and Shropshire Hills are areas of outstanding natural beauty. You can enjoy the arts and culture with theatres, museums and galleries including the Hippodrome, Royal Shakespeare Theatre and the REP. There are many places to go out with friends and colleagues, the region is home to six Michelin star restaurants and the Balti was created in Birmingham!

Could a current trainee give a brief overview of their experience at your deanery?

I am a current ST3 paediatric trainee. I came to the West Midlands following my foundation training in another deanery because I wanted to take advantage of being able to work at centres of clinical excellence and see a wide range of paediatric pathology. This has helped my clinical knowledge and skills, passing my exams on first sitting and providing me with confidence and understanding of paediatric and neonatal medicine. I have also had opportunities for research, presenting original research at an international conference and had leadership opportunities on the trainee committee. I would highly recommend choosing the West Midlands for your paediatric training; it is a friendly and diverse region with multiple and varied opportunities for a good work-life balance.

Where can prospective trainees find more information about training in your deanery?

Health Education West Midlands coordinate and facilitate the training of secondary care specialities within the West Midlands. We work closely with clinicians in every speciality either through a School Structure and / or through a speciality Training Committee, to provide the highest possible quality education and training for our trainees. You will find more information on the Health Education England Website:

https://www.westmidlandsdeanery.nhs.uk/

The HEE postgraduate school website page has more information on the application process for paediatrics.

https://www.westmidlandsdeanery.nhs.uk/postgraduate-schools/paediatrics

You will also find here a link to the West Midlands paediatric trainee committee website which includes information about the deanery, the education and training opportunities available as well as a contact page if any prospective trainees wish to find out more:

https://www.westmidlandspaediatrics.com/

Please contact us if you want to find out more about a happy, innovative and exciting place to work and learn.