Dr Jonathan Walsh pleaded guilty to 17 charges
Dr Jonathan Walsh, 47, pleaded guilty to a total of 17 charges during a hearing at Exeter Crown Court.
This included nine counts of distributing indecent images of children and six counts of making indecent images of children.
Devon and Cornwall Police said the vast majority of the charges related to Category A images which are the most serious.
Walsh had previously worked at North Devon district Hospital
onathan Walsh was working in a position of responsibility where he had a duty to protect children and young people
Andrea Kingdon, Detective Inspector
Walsh had previously worked at North Devon District Hospital but police said none of the offences related to patients there.
He was due to stand trial next month after initially denying the charges he faced.
Detective Inspector Andrea Kingdon, from the force's child exploitation unit, said: "Jonathan Walsh was working in a position of responsibility where he had a duty to protect children and young people, yet he choose to commit crimes with the possession and sharing of indecent images of children which leads to the abuse of some of the most vulnerable in our society.
Walsh was a practicing and respected paediatrician in North Devon when he committed the crimes
"Walsh was a practising and respected paediatrician in North Devon when he was committing these crimes.
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"He let himself and his profession down by his activities which he went to great lengths to hide.
"The victims of these types of offences often do not have a voice as their images are shared by paedophilic networks many times over, in a manner which constantly re-victimises them.
"The nature of the offending on the images and videos viewed and distributed by Dr Walsh are at the most serious end of the scale, and some of these included movies some hours in length.
"Whilst these may not have been contact offences, the viewing and sharing of these types of images directly leads to the abuse of the most vulnerable in our society.
"Dr Walsh is as responsible as those who film and take part in this horrific abuse of children.
He is currently suspended by the General Medical Council
"I hope that this case sends out a strong message to those using the internet for deviant purposes that we have the capability to use advanced technology and expert help to uncover the truth and bring offenders to justice."
George Thomson, medical director of the Northern Devon Healthcare Trust, said: "At the launch of the police investigation in September 2015 we took immediate action to exclude Dr Walsh from working at the trust and informed the General Medical Council.
"It is our understanding that none of these crimes relate to contact offences and none of these images relate to patients at North Devon District Hospital.
"This news has deeply shaken our whole team at North Devon District Hospital and we know it will also come as a shock to the community.
"Therefore we have set up an information line for anyone worried about this news and how it may have affected them.
"The number is 0300 123 1744 and it provides information on how to access support."
Walsh, of Lytham St Annes, Lancashire and formerly of Wordsworth Avenue, Barnstaple, will be sentenced on March 20.
He graduated from the University of Manchester in 1993 but is currently suspended by the General Medical Council.