The Royal College of Psychiatrists is the professional and educational body for psychiatrists in the UK and Ireland. The College also has international Divisions (Pan-American, Western Pacific, South Asian, Middle Eastern, European and African).
The College promotes mental health by:
• setting standards and promoting excellence in mental healthcare
• improving understanding through research and education
• leading, representing, training and supporting psychiatrists
• working with patients, carers and their organisations.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists has been in existence in some form since 1841, first as the Association of Medical Officers of Asylums and Hospitals for the Insane (later changed to the Medico Psychological Association), then, in 1926, receiving its Royal Charter to become the Royal Medico Psychological Association and finally, in 1971, receiving a Supplemental Charter to become the Royal College of Psychiatrists we know today.
Structures and function
Like any large organisation, the structures within the College have developed and evolved since its inception. The Chief Executive of the College has overall responsibility for the management of the College and is assisted by the Deputy Chief Executive. The Registrar is responsible for policy, public education and other related matters. The President is elected by the College membership for a 3-year term and the Registrar, Dean and Treasurer for 5-year terms. The Dean is the principal academic officer responsible for training and assessment.
There are several departments in the College. As part of its responsibility for public education, the College has an external affairs department, including a public affairs officer, a policy analyst and a campaign and communications administrator. The Library and Information Service supports both the profession and the public, with a small specialist library for members, access to electronic journals and a large range of public information materials, including excellent leaflets and books for patients, their families and carers, produced by the College.
The External Affairs and Information Services Department promotes the College'sinterests with the media, government and other organisations and works closely with the President and Registrar. The Department played a major role in the Partners in Care Campaign (January 2004 to October 2005), a very successful collaboration between the College and the Princess Royal Trust for Carers, which has led to the increasing involvement of patients and carers in psychiatric education. This involvement is now enshrined in the new curriculum for specialist training in psychiatry.