Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, UK

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, often referred to as the RCPCH, is the professional body for paediatricians(doctors specialising in child health) in the United Kingdom. It is responsible for the postgraduate training of paediatricians and conducts the Membership of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (MRCPCH) exams. It also awards the Diploma in Child Health (DCH), which is taken by many doctors who plan a career in general practice. Members of the college use the postnominal initials ‘MRCPCH’ while Fellows use ‘FRCPCH’.

The United Kingdom’s first national group of paediatricians was established in 1928 as the British Paediatric Association or BPA. Its first president was George Frederic Still. The BPA’s initial aims were the advancement of the study of paediatrics and the promotion of friendship amongst paediatricians. Most paediatricians also belonged to the Royal College of Physicians and took the examination MRCP(Paeds). The BPA was granted was granted royal college status in August 1996. The MRCP(Paeds) exam was replaced by the MRCPCH in 1999.

Full membership of the College requires successful completion of the MRCPCH examinations and payment of the membership fee. There are over 17,500 members, most based in the UK but with an increasing number overseas. The membership includes practicing hospital, community and academic paediatricians and retired doctors.

Paediatric junior doctors who are studying for their MRCPCH exams can become junior members. Medical students, foundation (newly qualified) doctors and non-doctors with an interest in child health may apply for affiliate membership. Doctors working in child health anywhere in the world can become associate members without taking the MRCPCH examination.

Senior doctors who have completed paediatric training can apply for fellowship of the RCPCH, after which they can use the letters FRCPCH.

The coat of arms of the college commemorate June Lloyd, first female President of the British Paediatric Association and Thomas Phaire, whose Boke of Chyldren from 1545 was the first book on paediatrics in English. The crest is a baby, taken from the arms of the Foundling Hospital in Coram’s Fields.

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