Junior doctor training and overseas fellowships

Teenage cancer trust unit The Children’s Hospital is the major children’s teaching hospital for Birmingham and the West Midlands providing local, regional, national and international clinical care.

Our haematology-oncology department is made up of a 24 bed ward, a six bed High-Dependency Unit and a six bed Teenage Cancer Unit, making us one of the largest dedicated paediatric oncology centres in the UK. We see over 200 children a year. The wider hospital contains 14 other wards with 34 specialities and supporting departments, a total of 354 beds, a 31 bedded Paediatric Intensive Care Unit and modern emergency and radiology departments. Our patients also benefit from close links with the adult services at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital and research at the University of Birmingham.

Along with the Haematology department, we deliver care for children with a wide range of common and rare solid tumours, CNS tumours, leukaemias and non-malignant haematological conditions including haemoglobinopathies and bleeding disorders, and bone marrow transplant (BMT). We are a national referral centre for liver cancers, retinoblastoma and bone tumours and the Cancer Research Clinical Trials Unit is located at the University.

We believe that doctors working with us will gain valuable experience at all stages of their medical career from ST1-7, GRID training and post CCT. As a large unit our ward is always busy looking after children, young people and families.

Clinical duties

We aim to provide the best training possible for junior doctors who are interested in the care of patients with a range of benign and malignant conditions. Our junior doctor team is made up of those interested in gaining experience during a rotation block, doctors wishing to train in shared care of oncology patients, and national sub-speciality (GRID) trainees. Junior doctors will gain experience in both haematology and oncology and may continue to be involved in the delivery of general paediatric care on the on-call rota.

Our junior doctor team works closely with consultant, nursing and other healthcare professionals for the management of our children and young people. Doctors are allocated rotations according to training requirements, suitable for their training grade. Junior doctors will also have opportunity to participate in weekly multidisciplinary team meetings (solid tumour, neuro-oncology, psycho-social, leukaemia and BMT) and learn how to perform core oncology techniques such as:

  • Lumbar punctures
  • Bone marrow aspiration
  • Chemotherapy prescription
  • Opportunities for research and audit projects

Case study

Dr Laura Roe is a general paediatrician who came to us for specialist oncology training

"I have worked as an oncology registrar at Birmingham Children’s Hospital for the past year. I am a paediatric trainee in the West Midlands and started at the Children’s Hospital as an ST6. I had developed an interest in the speciality whilst working in a paediatric oncology shared care unit (POSCU) where I encountered children with oncological diagnosis. From there I was keen to gain further experience in the area.

Time spent in the oncology department has been hugely educational as well as a thoroughly enjoyable training placement.  It has given me the opportunity to see children and young people at all stages of their diagnosis and treatment. I have become competent at the assessment and investigation of children and young people with a possible diagnosis of cancer.  I have become familiar with the common treatment protocols that are used and competent in prescribing chemotherapy for the standard treatment regimens.   

Spending time in outpatients has given me valuable experience in the long-term management of children who are either undergoing treatment or have completed treatment for cancer. In addition, I have had the opportunity to regularly attend oncology theatre and am proficient in administering intrathecal chemotherapy and performing bone marrow aspirations and biopsies.  

The skills and knowledge I have gained from my time at will hopefully, together with my ongoing general paediatric training allow me to work in a POSCU as a consultant paediatrician with special interest in oncology. To support this I have supported by the department to register for a special interest study module (SPIN) from the RCPCH in oncology."

Educational supervision

The training of junior doctors is a key part of our work. Junior doctors working with us are allocated one of the consultants as an educational supervisor to provide mentoring and career guidance. We follow the General Medical Council and Royal College sub-specialty training syllabus and a core lecture series is provided within our department. We offer further teaching through lectures and grand round presentations, as well as access to national and international meetings. We are proud that our doctors have a strong history of success in Royal College examinations, such as MRCPCH and many go on to complete further postgraduate education.

Overseas doctors

We’ve welcomed a number of doctors from across the world to train in our department. In the majority of cases, doctors have come through home government funded schemes or scholarship programmes, supported by our local Medical Training Initiative (MTI) Scheme. Typical lengths of stay have been 12 and 24 months, although there is some flexibility. These doctors have since returned to their home countries to develop local paediatric haematology-oncology services.

If you are a doctor working overseas and are interested in joining our team for a period of time, please make early contact (at least six months in advance) to establish eligibility and your training requirements. We highly value the contribution, shared learning and ideas that overseas colleagues can bring to our department both during their time here and as part of longer term collaborations.

Basic requirements include:

1) being eligible for GMC registration

2) MRCPCH or equivalent passed in full

3) having passed ILETS with a score minimum of 7.5

There is also a competitive interview of shortlisted candidates before any offers are made.

Enquiries from Training Program Directors at other hospitals/institutions are welcome.

More information about living and working in Birmingham can be found at: http://visitbirmingham.com/.

2018 Fellows

2018 International Oncology Fellows

Drs: Shereef Elmoamly (UK), Akshay Deshpande (India), Amrith Mathew (India), Uri Ilan (Israel), Amjad Abbas (Pakistan), Cyrina Amadi-Obi (Nigeria), Matthew O’Connor (Australia, not in photo), Miriam Mengual (Spain, not in photo)

2017 Fellows

2017 Fellows

Drs: Sue-Lee Ho (Malaysia), Najma Shaheen (Pakistan), Majid Madni (Pakistan), Yashashree Gupta (India), Abeer Al Battashi (Oman)

2016 Fellows

2016 Fellows

Drs: Majid Madni (Pakistan), Sanjeeva Gunasakera (Sri Lanka), Yashashree Gupta (India), Seye Akinsete (Nigeria), Ciara O’Rafferty (Ireland), Abeer Al Battashi (Oman)

2015 Fellows

2015 Fellows

Drs: Marc Arca (France), Majid Madni (Pakistan), Ciara O’Rafferty (Ireland), Mahwish Faizan (Pakistan), Sanjeeva Gunasakera (Sri Lanka)

Contact

Enquiries about any aspect of training or educational opportunities within the Paediatric Oncology Department should be addressed to the Education Lead for Paediatric Oncology, Dr Francis Mussai, francis.mussai@nhs.net.