Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools
Log in
Home › About the Royal College of Surgeons

About the Royal College of Surgeons

The Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCS) is a professional membership organisation and registered charity, which exists to improve patient care. We support 20,000 members in the UK and internationally by improving their skills and knowledge, developing policy and guidance, and carrying out projects to improve surgical care.

With a full programme of exams and courses, we equip surgeons with the skills they need throughout their careers. High-quality patient care is at the heart of our work, and we also maintain an innovative research programme through donations and legacies.

The College, set up by Royal Charter in 1800, has a unique heritage, with the Hunterian Museum open to the public in London.


RCS announce 2015-2019 strategic priorities

The RCS has developed three new strategic priorities underpinning the College’s vision of Advancing Surgical Care. Over the next four years our activities and resources will be focused on delivering the following strategic aims:

  1. Advance standards and reduce the variability of patient outcomes
  2. Attract, educate, develop and support high-quality surgeons
  3. Influence and shape future health policy and practice to advance standards of surgical care

We are looking forward to working with you to build the future of the surgical profession, and improve the delivery of surgical care.

College Mission Statement

The Royal College of Surgeons of England is committed to enabling surgeons to achieve and maintain the highest standards of surgical practice and patient care.

What we do

  • Supervise training of surgeons in approved posts
  • Provide educational and practical workshops for surgeons and other medical professionals at all stages of their careers
  • Examine trainees to ensure the highest professional standards
  • Promote and support surgical research in the UK
  • Support audit and evaluation of clinical effectiveness
  • Provide support and advice for surgeons in all stages of their careers
  • Provide a mechanism whereby trusts can seek independent advice
  • House a current and historical information resource centre for surgeons in the library and museums
  • Act as an advisory body to the Department of Health, health authorities, trusts, hospitals and other professional bodies
  • Collaborate with other medical and academic organisations in the UK and worldwide
  • Seek to convey the importance of, and provide support for, good, effective communication and interpersonal relationships between patients and surgeons

What we don't do

  • Register or license surgeons to practise nor have responsibility for disciplinary actions; this is the responsibility of the General Medical Council (GMC)
  • Process complaints from patients; this is another responsibility of the GMC or a function of individual hospitals
  • Recommend individual surgeons to patients or offer patients medical advice; the College recommends that patients always seek referral through general practitioners.