Belgian Journal of Paediatrics
Paediatric subspecialties in Belgium: past, present, and future




How to Cite

Van Camp, L., Hoste, L., Vermeiren, E., Moniotte, S., & Bael, A. (2023). Paediatric subspecialties in Belgium: past, present, and future. Belgian Journal of Paediatrics, 24(4), 267–271. Retrieved from


Objective: As paediatrics is a constantly evolving specialty, the interest in subspecialties has increased over the last decades. However, for a long time, only three paediatric subspecialties had official recognition criteria in Belgium (haematology and oncology, neurology, and neonatology) and recently infectiology was added to the shortlist. Importantly, the number of recognized subspecialties is varying between European countries. With this study, we aim to provide insights into the preferences of future paediatricians, especially on subspecialisation.

Methods: Between October 1st, 2021, and December 6th, 2021, the youth representatives of the Flemish Society of Paediatrics (Jong VVK) conducted a comprehensive survey on professional preferences among paediatric trainees and recently graduated paediatricians in Belgium. The survey included 34 questions and statements with an emphasis on subspecialisation and (future) work perspectives. The answers were compared with data from similar surveys in other countries.

Results: The survey was completed by 287 respondents. This survey was the first to include data from all universities in Belgium. In line with previous surveys among Flemish trainees, 80% of the respondents indicated wanting to subspecialize or having subspecialized and only 1% preferred working exclusively in private practice. The three most preferred subspecialties were neonatology, pulmonology, and infectiology. Interestingly, for two out of three respondents, the presence of official recognition criteria would affect their ambition to subspecialise.

Interpretation: Our unique dataset provides valuable insights into the future preferences of young paediatricians in Belgium. To optimize the career flow of the next generation of paediatricians, better structuring of subspecialties is warranted.