Reasons to take the diploma
The diploma in child health can be sat twice a year and is designed to test your ability to diagnose and manage common and important childhood conditions with particular reference to general practice. It covers acute and chronic medical, surgical and psychological problems, child health surveillance, pre- and peri-natal care, and patients' special educational needs.
The DCH tends to fall into the shadows of the obstetrics and gynaecology equivalent (DRCOG), summative assessment, MRCGP and various other demands placed upon GP registrars' time.
In vocational training schemes the DCH is promoted less than the DRCOG and the emphasis seems to be towards child health surveillance alone. Registrars may also feel it is harder to pass than other diplomas. Others may even get accused of chasing diplomas and not spending enough time in general practice.
Child health surveillance is important and being on the PCO list brings in extra funds as a GP. But it goes further than that. Knowledge of paediatrics is a crucial part to being a GP. A quarter of the average GP's list will be under 16 years of age.
The MRCGP requires a consultation with a child to be submitted for the consultation skills module, and paediatric issues frequently appear as hot topics in the written exams and orals.