Who we are and what we do

Who we are

The Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCoA) is the third largest medical Royal College in the UK by membership. With a combined membership of 23,000 fellows and members, it represents and ensures the quality of patient care by safeguarding standards in the three specialties of anaesthesia, intensive care and pain medicine.

The College is the professional body responsible for the specialty of anaesthesia throughout the UK at all stages of our fellows’ and members’ careers. As anaesthetists, we have overall responsibility for patients’ wellbeing before, during and after surgery. We are the lynchpin that holds secondary and tertiary care together and are the UK’s largest hospital specialty.


16% of all hospital consultants are anaesthetists and
over two-thirds of hospital in-patients will see an anaesthetist


The College champions the diverse and critical work of anaesthetists, and the science that underpins our work. We recruit, train and examine anaesthetists to the most exacting standards. We support our fellows and members throughout their careers irrelevant of age and region. We fund research to ensure that anaesthesia continues to advance at a rapid rate. We promote the sharing of knowledge and best practice, as well as working with government on crucial policies, and with other stakeholders in the UK and overseas to make sure that anaesthesia and anaesthetists play a central role in shaping and delivering the healthcare agenda.

The College is the home of the Faculty of Pain Medicine and one of the eight parent Colleges of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine.

Join us today!

What we do

We are committed to supporting our combined membership of 23,000 fellows and members throughout their careers. Our key areas of work include:

  • setting high standards of clinical care to ensure the constant rise in quality of patient care and safety
  • establishing the standards and curriculum for the training of anaesthetists, including examinations
  • the continued medical education of all practising anaesthetists to ensure their skills remain up-to-date
  • working collaboratively, through the National Institute of Academic Anaesthesia’s (NIAA) Health Services Research Centre (HSRC) to advance, fund and promote research activity
  • acting as the voice of the specialty on behalf of our membership
  • professional and personal development to support the development of our fellows’ and members’ careers and practice.

We promote the sharing of knowledge and best practice working with government and other stakeholders in the UK and overseas to make sure that anaesthesia and anaesthetists play a central role in shaping and delivering the healthcare agenda.

With our fellows’, members’ and patients’ interests underlying everything we do, the RCoA strategy 2016–2021 reflects our vision for the future of anaesthesia and the College’s work. This five-year strategy defines the values and purposes that will provide a solid, coherent and focused foundation upon which to build our shared future. You can read our strategy here.

How we support our fellows and members

By joining the Royal College of Anaesthetists, you are part of a combined membership of 23,000 fellows and members who are at all stages of their careers, from medical students to retired. The RCoA is the professional body responsible for your specialty throughout the UK. We support you in the following areas:

Quality standards

We set standards, provide guidance and ensure patient safety via examinations, accreditations and revalidation standards.

Development

We provide information and updates to keep you informed with the latest anaesthetic news and developments to ensure your skills are up-to-date and of the highest quality, through publications, journals, events, talks, CPD support and much more. We are here to support you in your personal and professional development.

We support the development of high quality research in the NHS and work collaboratively, through the National Institute of Academic Anaesthesia’s (NIAA) Health Services Research Centre (HSRC) with partner organisations.

Representation

We recognise, represent and champion our fellows’ and members’ interests and knowledge of our specialty amongst other medical specialities, policy makers, the media and to the public. Our participation on workforce issues ensure safe, high-quality patient care and training/working environments.

We listen to the views of our fellows’ and members’ to help shape the College’s work through an open dedicated engagement panel.

These periodic surveys and consultations ensure we always have anaesthetists’ and patients’ most current and pressing matters at the core of everything we do.

Influence

We represent and champion our specialty to influence policy makers and elected representatives in the UK and devolved governments to make sure that anaesthesia and anaesthetists play a central role in shaping and delivering the healthcare agenda.

Membership to the College provides a wide array of benefits across these areas, for you as an individual and for the profession.

We have a number of different membership categories – please see the membership categories pages of the website for more information.

For a detailed list of all the membership benefits you receive, please see our membership pages.