Millions of patients, 500 years, 2,018 miles – celebrating the RCP's incredible history

Thursday 1 June 2017 sees the start of a 2,018-mile cycle ride around the UK, celebrating the Royal College of Physicians of London’s 500th anniversary.

RCPCharterCycle: 2018for2018

The RCP’s registrar, Dr Andrew Goddard, will visit as many hospitals as possible in stages before 23 September 2018, inviting members of the RCP to sign a new RCP500 Charter produced for the anniversary.

The RCP Charter Cycle: 2018for2018, will begin at 8.15am on 1 June at Grange St Paul’s Hotel, which borders Knightrider Street in the City of London, the site of the first-ever home of the college, and will end on 23 September 2018 at the RCP’s headquarters in Regent’s Park.

Dr Goddard said:

Very few organisations reach 500 years old, let alone with their original aims intact. This is a great opportunity, not just to celebrate our past, but also to promote medicine as a brilliant and rewarding career, and reaffirm our commitment to patients.

I’m delighted to have this opportunity and hope to meet as many of our members around the country as possible.

King Henry VIII agreed to the setting up of the college in 1518 to protect people from unqualified medical practitioners, originally only in London. Through the centuries the RCP has developed this original mission into its present-day pledge to provide the highest standards of patient care in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The RCP500 Charter is a commitment to patients to:

  • provide the highest standards of patient care 
  • train, develop and support doctors and healthcare professionals
  • champion research and innovation for patients’ benefit
  • act as leaders in developing, influencing and supporting high-quality healthcare
  • promote good health and prevention of ill health.

We believe this cycle ride will really capture the imagination of physicians invited to sign up to the quincentennial charter, stating their personal commitment to a modern NHS.

Dr Ian Bullock, RCP chief executive

RCP chief executive Dr Ian Bullock, who will be joining Dr Goddard on the first leg of the tour to Reading, where they will meet physicians attending the RCP’s Oxford and South Thames regional meeting, said:

This is a great opportunity for the college to be present across all regions of the UK, in celebrating its history whilst declaring the need to be modern and relevant. We believe this cycle ride will really capture the imagination of physicians invited to sign up to the quincentennial charter, stating their personal commitment to a modern NHS. It enables all involved to reflect on the first 500 years of RCP history, whilst looking forward to many more years of relevance and impact.

Sign the charter

Dr Goddard will begin his cycle ride by visiting the following locations. You can meet him and sign the charter in person at these times:

Supporting healthcare in Africa

The RCP Charter Cycle: 2018for2018 will also raise money for Physicians for Africa, a flagship project of the RCP which seeks to improve access to well-trained physicians in east, central and southern Africa. The lack of access to well-trained physicians in this region is stark: 1 physician per 100,000 people in Malawi, compared to 280 per 100,000 in the UK.

Over the course of the year Dr Goddard hopes to raise £100,000 which will help establish 12 new physician training units in six countries where access to doctors is limited – often impossible – for tens of millions of people.

Tony Matharu, managing director of Grange Hotels, said:

As managing director of Grange Hotels I am delighted to sponsor the RCP 500th anniversary charter cycle starting at the Grange St Paul’s Hotel with our longstanding partners at the Royal College of Physicians.

Grange Hotels have breathed new life in the site of the original Royal College of Physicians in Knightrider Street and we are particularly pleased to assist the Royal College of Physicians in their efforts to help vulnerable people in Africa.

You can follow @bodgoddard on Twitter for updates and photos from Dr Goddard's journey; to offer your support please use the hashtags #RCPCharterCycle and #2018for2018.

Notes to editors

For further information and to arrange interviews, please contact RCP head of PR and public affairs Linda Cuthbertson:

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RCP 500