Medical Professions

Medical professions

Formal qualifications in all divisions of the British medical profession are extremely complex and, despite adhering to many customs and traditions, are often subject to revision. 

There are several stages to British medical education and it takes many years to qualify. Undergraduate education at a medical school is followed by a two-year Foundation Programme, replacing what was formerly known as the Pre-registration House Officer (PRHO) year and the first year of Senior House Officer (SHO) training. After this, postgraduate doctors undertake either run-through, specialty or GP training. Run-through programmes, providing recruitment for the duration of the training period, are offered by some specialties. Other specialties – eg surgery or paediatrics – require ‘uncoupled’ training, consisting of two to three years of core training followed by four to five years of higher specialty training. Training to specialise in general practice lasts for approximately three years. The final stage of qualification is membership exams after which a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) is awarded. The newly qualified medics are put on the specialist register of the appropriate Royal College and can apply for consultant or GP posts.

Royal Colleges

A number of Royal Colleges administer the medical professions in the UK, as follows:

Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd)    
Royal College of Physicians (RCP)    
Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow (RCPSG)    
Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (RCPE)    
Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCS)    
Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych)    
Royal College of Nursing (RCN)    
Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG)    
Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP)
Royal College of Radiologists (RCR)    
Royal College of Pathologists (RCPath)    
Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCO)    
Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCoA)    
Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH)    
Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland (RCSI) & Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland (RCSI)
Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI)
College of Emergency Medicine (CEM)
Faculty of Occupational Medicine (FOM)
Faculty of Public Health (FPH)
Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine (FPM)
Faculty of Dental Surgery (Royal College of Surgeons of England) (FDS)

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