Dr Kuberan Pushparajah
We are one of the major tertiary paediatrics centres in the UK with a breadth of clinical practice and research. The Evelina London Children’s Hospital and the Department of Paediatrics at King’s College Hospital are together the largest paediatric service in London providing hospital and community-based care. Between them they have over 300 paediatric beds and provide a flourishing clinical service in general paediatrics and paediatric accident and emergency as well as specialist regional services in neonatology, intensive care, respiratory, cardiology, neurology, nephrology, metabolic medicine, hepatology, gastroenterology, infectious diseases, haematology, endocrinology, allergy and all aspects of specialist paediatric surgery. Seamless clinical care from prenatal diagnosis and treatment to infancy and onto adulthood across all aspects of disease is provided. There is a strong focus on training with dedicated sub-specialty postgraduate training programmes in all these areas.
The newly formed Institute of Women’s and Children’s Health co-ordinates academic activity, ensuring close linkage between King’s College London (KCL) and the NHS trusts that make up King’s Health Partners. The particular strengths of the Paediatric programme come from a series of unique features:
- A unique and distinctive focus for paediatric research which emphasises making practical advances in common and important diseases.
- The co-location of strong obstetric, fetal, neonatal and children’s research with large clinical services and strong academic programmes on a single site, and further substantial and effective clinical and academic programmes within King’s Health Partners.
- World-leading child mental health researchers in the Maudsley Hospital and the KCL Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN).
- Strong collaborative links to adult specialities that lead their fields, particularly in gastroenterology, allergy, neurosciences and imaging sciences.
- Specific and unique research facilities, including the Evelina Children’s Imaging Centre, the new XMR facility and the unique Neuromodulation service.
- Established research links with other Schools with the Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine in KCL including the School of Biomedical Engineering and Imaging Sciences, which includes the Innovate UK London Medical Imaging & Artificial Intelligence Centre for Value-Based Healthcare.
- An MRes course in paediatrics that allows modules to be taken to support specific and transferable skill training, and a new MSc in Women’s and Children’s Health.
This allows us to define a distinctive programme that integrates physical and mental health research across the early life course.
The programme for Academic Clinical Fellows (ACFs) will combine core training including general paediatrics and paediatric accident and emergency as well as specialist paediatrics. In addition, there will be 9 months of academic training in a paediatric subspecialty. Where possible we will try to ensure that the academic sub-specialty and the sub-specialty part of the clinical training are matched so the trainees get immersed in both the clinical and academic aspects of the specialty. Hence, trainees will gain clinical competence comparable with their non-academic peers whilst developing a competitive clinical and academic edge in a specific sub-specialty that will increase their chances of success in research training fellowship applications. These are key elements in the pathway to long-term academic success.
There is a dedicated training programme at KCL for ACFs and ACLs and all trainees attend this programme which covers all aspects of clinical research training. This includes: introduction to medical/biostatistics, literature searching; critical appraisal skills; systematic reviews; meta-analysis; regulatory framework of clinical research – GCP/ethics; introduction to research methodology and study design, including approaches to qualitative and quantitative research; developing and setting aims and hypotheses; practical research skills including recruitment, interviewing and data handling; basic epidemiology; clinical trials; quantitative methods; qualitative methods and mixed methods; development and evaluation of complex interventions.
It is expected that by the end of the 3 years the trainee will have been successful in obtaining a competitive clinical research fellowship that allows them to obtain a PhD in their subspecialty paediatric area of choice. At the end of the ACF and clinical research fellowship we expect the trainee to move on to a Lectureship position to continue their clinical and academic training.
ACFs will undertake the same clinical programme as other Paediatric trainees. Progression is competency-based, which means that ACFs are expected to incorporate the academic blocks without falling behind their non-ACF peers in clinical progression. The paediatric curriculum defined by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) consists of competency frameworks with learning objectives defined for the 3 stages of the paediatric training programme.
Progression through the three levels of training will be dependent on satisfactory completion of structured, workplace assessments of competence and performance. The standards of assessment at each level of training are all mapped to Good Medical Practice.