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Supporting our members

We lead the profession by supporting and inspiring our members to meet the challenges of practising medicine today. Our members are our greatest asset – we listen to, support and learn from them.

Our work in numbers

Our key achievements

Thank you to our members and fellows for their support and involvement in 2020 and being part of the RCP. They inspire the staff, officers, committees and panels to aspire to excellence.

Throughout 2020 we increased activity to support and represent our members during what has no doubt been the most challenging period in their careers. From a COVID-19 hub on our website, to campaigning for PPE and delivering a range of webinars and forums, we addressed key challenges facing our members.

In 2020 it was more important than ever to celebrate the amazing work of physicians and their teams

As the pandemic took hold in April we launched a new fortnightly COVID-19 e-newsletter for members covering key guidance and information. We sent 32 bulletins from our president during 2020 to keep members informed and supported during the pandemic, increasing the frequency from monthly to weekly at key points. These digital updates have proved highly popular and received much higher-than-average open rates and compliments for ‘being a lifeline’.

The RCP is a lead partner of the COVID-19 Therapeutics Advice and Support Group which was established to provide advice and support in the management of the pandemic while national guidelines evolved.

Partnership working with specialist societies has been key throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and the RCP has played a significant leadership and coordination role around major issues. The Medical Specialties Board met frequently throughout the year and provided a vibrant and well-attended focus for this work. Our specialist networks, members and the UK regions gave invaluable support to physicians and PAs working with patients. This included our committees for trainees and new consultants, SAS doctor network and regional network of advisers.

In any given year, the RCP replies to hundreds of consultations from bodies such as NICE and NHS England. The first half of 2020 saw an exponential rise in these, along with requests for review and co-badging/endorsement of COVID-19 related materials and guidance.

We expanded the criteria for RCP fellowship to recognise the contribution of physicians in the first few years of their consultant career earlier than would traditionally have been the case. We were delighted to elect a record number of candidates into RCP fellowship in 2020, despite the effect of the pandemic on the fellowship grading process.

Our invited service reviews went virtual in 2020 and continued to deliver high-quality recommendations to trusts and health boards dealing with difficult problems, leading to direct improvements in patient care.

We hosted our fifth annual Excellence in Patient Care Awards. In 2020 it was more important than ever to celebrate the amazing work of physicians and their teams. We received 94 applications and the winners came from a diverse range of projects and areas. The ceremony was converted to a virtual event and we used our social media platforms to announce the winners, resulting in huge reach and engagement – the ‘opening ceremony’ animation received almost 50,000 impressions on Twitter alone.

We hosted a series of regional international adviser meetings to strengthen networks around the world and to inform the development of our new global strategy. The RCP global stories series covered topics including palliative medicine in low- and middle- income countries, the COVID-19 response and the impact of the Beirut explosion on physicians in Lebanon.

Partnership working with specialist societies has been key throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and the RCP has played a significant leadership and coordination role around major issues

We saw a significant increase in delegate numbers at virtual events that were previously face-to-face, including our conference for college and associate college tutors and our national conference for new consultants – both with over 200 attendees – and our Turner-Warwick lectures with over 1,000 attendees watching one of the lectures.

Our Advisory Appointment Committees quality assured consultant job descriptions and provided an RCP representative for consultant appointment panels supporting around 400 appointments and reviewing over 750 job descriptions in 2020. We also kitemarked 74 job descriptions so potential applicants can see where the RCP has endorsed a post to indicate it has met national quality standards.

Together with Health Education England, the Faculty of Physician Associates developed opportunities for alternative employment in the NHS for graduates who could not take their national PA examinations due to COVID-19. ‘Physician Associates Week’ went virtual in 2020 and provided useful information and CPD content.

We published the annual census of consultants, higher specialty trainee physicians and physician associates conducted in partnership with the Scottish royal colleges of physicians and the Faculty of Physician Associates. The census data supports key healthcare bodies to identify trends, monitor specialty expansion rates, make recommendations, and plan for workforce development. We also published the results of the latest CCT progression survey, a collaboration with JRCPTB. This looks at the experience of people within 1 year of attaining their certificate of completion of training and has monitored changing outcomes since 2009.