The Royal College of Surgeons of England, is an independent professional body and registered charity promoting and advancing standards of surgical care for patients, regulating surgery, including dentistry, in England and Wales. The College is located at Lincoln’s Inn Fields in London. It publishes multiple medical journals including the Annals of The Royal College of Surgeons of England, the Faculty Dental Journal, and the Bulletin of the Royal College of Surgeons of England.
The origins of the College date to the fourteenth century with the foundation of the “Guild of Surgeons Within the City of London”. Certain sources date this as occurring in 1368. There was ongoing dispute between the surgeons and barber surgeons until an agreement was signed between them in 1493, giving the fellowship of surgeons the power of incorporation. This union was formalised further in 1540 by Henry VIII between the Worshipful Company of Barbers (incorporated 1462) and the Guild of Surgeons to form the Company of Barber-Surgeons. In 1745 the surgeons broke away from the barbers to form the Company of Surgeons. In 1800 the Company was granted a Royal Charter to become the Royal College of Surgeons in London. A further charter in 1843 granted it the present title of the Royal College of Surgeons of England.
he correct way to address a member or fellow of The Royal College of Surgeons is to use the title Mr, Miss, Mrs, or Ms (not Dr). This system (which applies only to surgeons, not physicians) has its origins in the 16th century, when surgeons were barber-surgeons and did not have a medical degree (or indeed any formal qualification), unlike physicians, who held a University medical degree. When the College of Surgeons received its royal charter, the Royal College of Physicians insisted that candidates must have a medical degree first. Therefore, an aspiring surgeon had to study medicine first and received the title Doctor. Thereafter, having obtained the diploma of Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons he would revert to the title “Mr” as a snub to the RCP. Nowadays the title “Mr” is used by Members of the College who have passed the diploma MRCS examination and the College addresses Members as “Mr” or “Ms”.
The Company of Surgeons moved from Surgeon’s Hall in Old Bailey to a site at 41 Lincoln’s Inn Fields in 1797. Construction of the first College building, to a design by George Dance the Younger, and James Lewis, took from 1805 to 1813. In 1833 Sir Charles Barry won the public competition to design a replacement. The library and portico of this building are all that remain today after a German incendiary bomb hit the College in 1941
In 1799 the government purchased the collection of John Hunter which they presented to the College. This formed the basis of the Hunterian Collection, which has since been supplimented by others including an Odontological Collection (curated by A E W Miles until the early 1990s) and the natural history collections of Richard Owen.
The Hunterian Museum is a member of The London Museums of Health & Medicine group, and displays thousands of anatomical specimens, including the Evelyn tables and the skeleton of the “Irish giant” Charles Byrne, surgical instruments, and paintings and sculptures about medical individuals and medicine.
The Cheselden Medal was instituted in 2009 in honour of William Cheselden “to recognise unique achievements in, and exceptional contributions to, the advancement of surgery”. The award is made at irregular intervals to reflect the outstanding qualities required of recipients and is deemed one of the College’s highest professional honours.
The Royal Colleges’ Bronze Medal was instituted in 1957 and is awarded jointly with the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. It is awarded annually “on the nomination of the Medical Group of the Royal Photographic Society for the outstanding example of photography in the service of medicine and surgery”.
The Wood Jones Medal was instituted in 1975 to commemorate Frederic Wood Jones (Sir William Collins Professor of Human and Comparative Anatomy and Conservator of the Anatomy Museum 1945-52). It is awarded occasionally (triennially until 1994) by a Committee “for contributions to anatomical knowledge or the teaching of anatomy in the tradition of Frederic Wood Jones”.
The RCS offeres a range of both on-line e-learning modules and hands-on practical workshops to facilitate the CPD for trainee and consultant surgeons across varies specialties.
Since May 2017, the RCS started to offer Postgraduate Certificate in Surgery to junior surgical trainee. This qualification combined e-learning modules and practical causes “offer surgical trainees a high-quality, flexible and interactive way to build their surgical knowledge and skills