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About us

About the colleges

The three Royal Colleges of Physicians represent more than 60,000 physicians worldwide. They provide an invaluable professional network, opportunities to share best practice and ongoing educational opportunities for physicians in the UK and around the world.

Please see information about the three Royal Colleges of Physicians, including how they support their members and fellows and their many activities to improve the quality of healthcare, below.

Royal College of Physicians

Since its foundation in 1518, the RCP’s focus has been to support doctors and ultimately improve patient care and reduce illness. We aim to drive improvement in the diagnosis of disease, the care of individual patients and the health of the whole population.

As a registered charity, our vision is for the best health and care for all. Income from all our activities is focused on educating physicians and supporting them to fulfil their potential, improving services and leading the prevention of ill health across communities, alongside influencing the way that health care is designed and delivered.

This translates into a wide range of support for our 40,000+ members and wider healthcare community. We run a broad programme of educational opportunities including leadership development programmes aimed at promoting greater diversity and inclusivity and those which are career specific. This is in addition to the medical streaming service RCP Player (a member benefit) which has been accessed over 50,000 times. For trainees specifically, our active Trainees’ Committee provides a voice for junior doctors to shape our work programmes, and the policy and campaigns approach that we take with government and others to ensure that the issues that matter most to physicians are heard. Other examples of support are for overseas doctors to benefit from working in the NHS through the MTI scheme and our new interview skills training course, which over 400 members havie benefitted from to date.

We encourage trainees to thrive in their careers with leadership support such as the Chief Registrar programme and Emerging Women Leaders, and on the ground support from the RCP network of college tutors and associates. For aspiring doctors at the very start of their careers, we offer free medical student membership and heavily discounted membership for foundation doctors. Initiatives such as the Turner-Warwick lectures provide trainees the opportunity to showcase research at the national level, and our dedicated programme of trainee events includes an annual conference stream and popular events such as Call the Med Reg. Many of our awards and scholarships are focussed on trainees, providing both research and development opportunities, promoting new personal skills and career advancement.

Our ambition for the best possible health and care is worldwide. We have an active global membership programme which includes discounted membership and targeted education and events.

Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh

We have a strong UK and international presence with Fellows and Members based in over 100 countries. Our Fellows and Members are the driving force of the college. As a membership organisation and a registered charity, all of our work is enriched by the voluntary leadership, contributions and expertise of our global community of healthcare professionals. Income received from subscriptions, examination fees, donations and events enables us to put in place the infrastructure to help promote and improve the quality of health and patient care worldwide.

We recognise the value and contribution of trainees and are here to support you at all stages of your career. The college offers free membership to medical students and colleagues within the first two years of training and to refugees who are currently living in the UK and who have trained as doctors or who began studying medicine in their home country. We also offer substantial discounts to those working less than full time (LTFT) and those who are on maternity leave, paternity leave or adoption leave.

The college offers a vast education programme of specialty and general medical education as well as regular medical and training updates. We offer international access to events and symposia – watch live or catch up on demand at a time to suit you through the Education Portal, which also offers online and blended learning modules.

We are committed to play our part in international efforts to develop a coordinated strategy towards achieving equity of health status and healthcare provision globally. We facilitate partnerships to support training and education internationally and to enable delivery of high-quality, sustainable healthcare locally in countries including Malawi and Zambia. We maintain competitive rates for our international Fellows and Members and use a system of tiered reduced subscription rates based on the World Bank Development Indicators.

Our Trainees and Members' Committee is one of the UK's most active and influential trainee groups and it ensures the views and experiences of trainees are represented both within the College and externally to policymakers. Together with our Associate Regional Adviser (ARA) network, this helps to bring physicianly communities together in all regions of the UK, developing a strong ecosystem of College support for our current and future Fellows and Members.

The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow

The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow was established in 1599 with the purpose of improving standards of medical and surgical care.

It was then, and remains today, the only multi-disciplinary Royal College in the UK and now brings together five faculties of healthcare professionals made up of physicians, surgeons, dentists, and specialists in podiatric and travel medicine.

Working together as one college, with care and compassion which reflects our charitable status, we ensure our fifteen thousand members are able to deliver the best outcomes for their patients and inspire the next generation of healthcare professionals.  Our college is an international community with Fellows and Members in the United Kingdom and across the globe and we ensure that our education and training advance professional development.

We use our income to invest in and deliver on our 3 strategic priorities that allow us to continue to fulfil our charitable purpose:

  • To develop and deliver an educational and assessment programme that responds to and meets the needs of our members and their patients
  • To engage and connect with our members and prospective members to strengthen and add value to this relationship in the UK and across the world
  • To raise our profile across healthcare, public and political domains to the benefit of our members and their patients

Our policy and communications team has demonstrated the importance of working alongside government to enable the voices of our members and fellows to be heard and to impact on national decisions – we will continue to speak up for and speak out on many critical issues that are important to the careers of our trainees, members and fellows across the world.  We have also focussed on engaging and supporting our membership directly with online resources and through our networks of college tutors, regional and international advisors.

Trainees are valued members of our college and we are committed to supporting their personal and professional development as the future of our profession.  Our College has a vibrant and dedicated Trainees Committee, operating on a UK wide basis, that works to promote the interests and wellbeing of trainees.

We also sponsor a number of trainee events in hospitals through our dedicated Membership Engagement team and our network of UK Regional Advisors and College Tutors which provides invaluable support to our trainees locally.  We run assimilation programmes, in conjunction with NES (NHS Education for Scotland) for international medical graduates, who are new to working in the UK and the NHS, and we offer free membership to refugee doctors, as well as medical students.  Finally, our College has one of the most generous scholarships and awards schemes in the UK, which always attracts a lot of interest from our trainee members.