Our role in healthcare

Physicians are doctors – consultants, registrars and doctors in training – who work across 30 medical specialties. They care for millions of medical patients with a huge range of conditions, from asthma and diabetes to stroke
and yellow fever.

Their clinical work ranges from caring for patients who are acutely unwell in hospital, to supporting patients to manage long-term health problems at home and encouraging people to stay fit and healthy in the community. 

What’s our role in healthcare?

The RCP interacts with the healthcare system in various ways. We work closely with:

  • clinicians at all career stages, and particularly by providing educational and professional support to doctors who pursue a career in one of the 30 physician specialties
  • hospitals and other NHS providers, many of which participate in our clinical audits to measure and improve the standard of patient care
  • national bodies – we meet regularly with national healthcare leaders to represent physicians’ needs, and contribute to many areas of healthcare policy
  • our faculties, specialist societies and other medical royal colleges, so that physicians and other healthcare professionals have a powerful and unified voice.

We raise standards by setting training curricula and exams for physicians, and by developing NICE-accredited guidelines for high-quality care. We also have a wider duty to reduce preventable illness from causes such as smoking and drinking, and to promote evidence-based policies to government to encourage healthy lifestyles. We involve patients and carers in every aspect of our work.