Royal College of Psychiatrists

The Royal College of Psychiatrists is the main professional organisation of psychiatrists in the United Kingdom, and is responsible for representing psychiatrists, for psychiatric research and for providing public information about mental health problems. The college provides advice to those responsible for training and certifying psychiatrists in the UK.

Royal College of Psychiatrists
Royal College of Psychiatrists logo.svg
Formation1841; 179 years ago (1841)
HeadquartersPrescot Street, London, England
United Kingdom
Professor Wendy Burn
AffiliationsAcademy of Medical Royal Colleges

In addition to publishing many books and producing several journals, the College produces, for the public, information about mental health problems. Its offices are located at 21 Prescot Street in London, near Aldgate. The College was formerly located in Belgrave Square.


The College has existed in various forms since 1841, having started life as the Association of Medical Officers of Asylums and Hospitals for the Insane.[1] In 1865 it became the Medico-Psychological Association.[2] In 1926, the Association received its Royal Charter, becoming the Royal Medico-Psychological Association. Finally, in 1971, a Supplemental Charter accorded the Association the status of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.


Several grades of membership are available:

  • Members use the post-nominal letters MRCPsych.
  • Affiliateship offers psychiatrists in the UK, who are not in training grades or substantive consultant posts, the opportunity of involvement with the College.
  • Specialist Associateship of the College is open to registered medical practitioners working in the United Kingdom and who meet certain criteria.
  • Fellowship use the post-nominal letters FRCPsych. Fellowship is awarded to a Member who has made a significant and distinctive contribution to psychiatry. It is not normally awarded until the nominee has held the Membership for a minimum of ten years. The process by which Members be awarded Fellowship of the College is that they should be nominated, proposed and seconded by two Members of the College.
  • International Associateship may be awarded to psychiatrists with five years' experience in psychiatry who do not hold the MRCPsych, but who hold a specialist qualification in psychiatry and who reside outside the UK.

Coat of armsEdit

The coat of arms incorporates the traditional serpent-entwined rod of Asclepius symbolic of medicine, and butterflies associated with Psyche. Previous to the grant of these arms, the Medico-Psychological Association had used a device showing the seated Psyche with butterfly's wings. The arms were originally granted to the Royal Medico-Psychological Association in 1926, and were confirmed to the College on its formation in 1971 by the College of Arms. They were also registered in Scotland by the Court of the Lord Lyon.

College Centre for Quality ImprovementEdit

The work of the College Centre for Quality Improvement (CCQI) has developed a role for clinicians and their professional bodies in raising standards. Its national initiatives engage directly with clinicians, managers and service users and support them to take responsibility for improving local mental health services. More than 90% of mental health services in the UK participate in the work of the CCQI.

College Policy UnitEdit

The Policy Unit, part of the Strategic Communications Department, is responsible for the development and delivery of College policy to the membership and a range of external audiences.

List of Presidents of the Royal College of PsychiatristsEdit

The president is elected for a three-year term and serves as head of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.[3] The current president is Professor Wendy Burn.[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Bewley (2008), p. 10.
  2. ^ Bewley (2008), p. 2.
  3. ^ "Roll of Honour: Presidents". Royal College of Psychiatrists (doc). March 2015. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  4. ^ "Royal College of Psychiatrists elects new president". Royal College of Psychiatrists. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  5. ^ "RCPsych Presidential Election results announced". Royal College of Psychiatrists. 14 January 2014. Retrieved 29 August 2015.

External linksEdit