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Paediatrics 2040: A Vision for the Future

The RCPCH publishes the most comprehensive examination of the future of paediatrics in the UK ever undertaken to provide a vision for 2040 focusing on data and evidence, impact of innovation, models of care, and working lives.

By meganpeng · March 12, 2021

Paediatrics 2040 is the result of a three year project which set out, in the words of RCPCH President, Professor Russell Viner: “To better understand how paediatrics will function as a discipline in 2040, the role paediatricians will play in it, and how the College can continue to support our members into the 21st century.”

The report is the result of discussions with paediatricians, other health colleagues and nearly 900 children and young people, across all four nations. Around 120 College members, from medical students and foundation doctors through to retired consultants, worked with the report’s authors across four key areas of focus:

  1. Data and evidence
  2. Workforce demand and the working lives of paediatricians
  3. Impact of innovation
  4. Changing models of care

The report uses data from the Global Burden of Disease study – a tool which quantifies poorer health from hundreds of diseases, injuries, and risk factors – to identify the likely trend in burden of disease from various causes among children and young people across the UK. This data was then used to forecast change in all-cause disability-adjusted life years to 2040.

“Only by actively planning for the future can we hope to have some control over it,” says Professor Viner. “Paediatrics 2040 is a project which of course began way before the emergence of COVID-19. If nothing else, the pandemic has taught us that the future is partly unpredictable but partly something for which we can, and must be, better prepared.”

A key part of the report is a set of aims that should be implemented across innovation, models of care and working lives. These include:

  • Paediatric models of care that are truly child centred, rather than built to suit existing systems, with communication and adaptation as the key ingredients in any system
  • An improved landscape for innovation, with increased capacity for research that is specific to innovation and technology in paediatrics
  • Widespread implementation of appropriate guidelines and frameworks that are specific to paediatric care to make technology safe and accessible for all
  • More children and families empowered to know when to seek care, with reduced pressure on emergency department attendances
  • Flexible and progressive rotas which allow doctors to deliver high quality patient care, not impeded by excessive workload, allowing for both continuity of care and attention to sleep, as appropriate
  • Staff wellbeing being at the forefront of institutions

Watch a recording of the virtual launch event below:

Visit the Paediatrics 2040 microsite here.