Addressing recruitment and retention in paediatrics: a pipeline to a brighter future

Peter Mallett*, Andrew Thompson, Thomas Bourke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: In the UK, the number of junior doctors completing foundation programme, and the number of trainees applying to paediatrics has been in decline in recent years. The NHS is at breaking point', exacerbated by workforce shortages, chronic underfunding, increasing service demand and poor job satisfaction within healthcare workers. Issues in recruitment and retention of paediatricians threaten the safety of our children's health', according to the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. Aim: To explore what strategies have been described in the literature to enhance recruitment and retention in paediatrics. Methods: A scoping review methodology was conducted, employing a qualitative approach to review the literature. The studies included were English-language studies. 16 full-text articles were reviewed and analysed. Study findings: There is a paucity of data in the literature that describes evidence-based approaches to enhancing retention and recruitment in paediatrics. The most important strategies employed to help are identified and grouped into six main themes. These include professional advocacy, workforce diversity, mentorship, improving working conditions, career flexibility and enhancing educational opportunities. The authors have created a paediatric pipeline' paradigm of identify, engage, recruit, retain and champion', which allow us to present these themes in a pragmatic way for paediatricians and policymakers. Conclusions: While some issues share similarities with other specialties in difficulty, much of the context and potential remedies within paediatrics are distinct. A strategic, multi-agency collaborative approach is required urgently to address the significant issues that face both paediatrics and the healthcare system.

Original languageEnglish
JournalArchives of Disease in Childhood: Education and Practice Edition
Early online date03 Mar 2021
Publication statusEarly online date - 03 Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2021. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • health services research
  • information technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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