In 1976 a Conference of Medical Royal Colleges and Faculties was formed. The need for a body such as Conference followed the formation of the increasing number of Colleges and Faculties, not only to consider Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) business, but also to promote the aim of jointly preserving standards in the best interests of medicine.
This Conference had 16 members (two from each of the major Colleges and one from each of the others, including the Scottish but not the Irish College). Until 1988, the Conference met quarterly on the day before JCC and always in London. At that time, it became apparent that additional meetings, the agenda for which was not circumscribed by JCC matters, were necessary if Conference was to maintain its voice on standards. This was seen to require a facility to receive reports from subcommittees and working parties, while taking into account the responsibilities and powers of individual Colleges, and reducing the possibility that the position of Colleges might be weakened by their own increasing numbers.
In 1991 Conference set up a Working Party to investigate its future requirements, in terms of function, structure, name and secretarial support. There was a widespread recognition that Conference was increasingly important in assisting Medical Royal Colleges to establish and maintain high standards of patient care, through training and monitoring performance. The demands on the Chairman of Conference increased considerably, and it became impossible to be properly supported by the staff of one College alone.
It was therefore agreed that from January 1993 a Conference Office, staffed by an Executive Secretary, should be established in support of Conference, especially the Chairman and Honorary Secretary. A further member of staff was recruited in 1995.
In February 1996, it was agreed to invite the Presidents of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland to become full members of the Conference of Medical Royal Colleges.
In April 1996, the Conference of Medical Royal Colleges agreed to change its name to Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, and charitable status was granted in July.
In December 1996 the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health was elected as a full member and the College of Emergency Medicine became a member in 2008.
Over time, the Academy established a series of committees, generally comprising representatives from all member Colleges to oversee and direct its work.
A major review of the Academy’s governance was undertaken in 2009/10. Following the approval of the Charity Commission this resulted in the establishment of a Board of Trustees, which includes independently appointed members, to be responsible for the governance of the organisation separate from the Council of Academy members who would be responsible for healthcare policy and professional issues.
In January 2011 the Academy realised a long-term goal of moving into its own property. The Academy office is at 10 Dallington Street, London, EC1. The property has its own meeting rooms so, importantly, the Academy can host the majority of its meetings on its own premises.
Following the adoption of new governance arrangements, the Board of Trustees was established from April 2011. The Board comprises of four independently appointed external members (including the Chairman of the Board) two current College Presidents, the Academy Chairman and an independent Clinician Trustee.
The Academy now speaks on standards of care and medical education across the UK as the voice of over 200,000 doctors and drives improvement in heath and patient care.
Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, 1505
Royal College of Physicians of London. 1518
Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, 1599
Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, 1654
Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, 1681
Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland, 1784
Royal College of Surgeons of England, 1800
Royal College of Psychiatrists, 1841
Royal College of Ophthalmologists,* 1880
Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists, 1929
Royal College of Radiologists, 1939
Faculty of Dental Surgery, 1947
Royal College of Anaesthetists, 1948
Royal College of General Practitioners, 1952
Royal College of Pathologists, 1962
Faculty of Public Health Medicine, 1978
Faculty of Occupational Medicine, 1978
Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine, 1989
Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health, 1993
Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, 1996
Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine, 2006
Royal College of Emergency Medicine, 2008
Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine, 2011
*The Ophthalmological Society of the United Kingdom was founded in 1880 by Bowman and is considered to be the forerunner of the RCOphth, but the College itself separated from the RCS in 1988.
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