March 2008


The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and Faculties in Scotland developed out of the Conference of Royal Colleges, which has a long history in Scotland.  The Conference predated the UK Academy of Colleges but in the past its influence was not as great as it might have been, partly because of difficulties in the relationships between the ancient Royal Colleges of Scotland and the newly developing UK Royal Colleges with a very variable Scottish representation.

The Academy of Royal Colleges in the UK is active in providing advice to Government and allowing discussion between the different specialties.  The aims and objectives of the Scottish Academy have some similarities to those of the UK Academy, but with a specific focus on the health of the people of Scotland.

Whilst the different home nations always had slightly different ways of working, the Academy’s development was particularly important in relation to the prospect of devolution in 1999 and the opportunity for more direct input into the Scottish Health Service.  The Scottish Academy of Royal Colleges is now a high-profile representative body for the profession, particularly in relation to clinical standards and training.  Work over recent years has seen the Academy become a cohesive group, which is now extensively involved in issues within the Scottish Health Service.


The main aim of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and Faculties in Scotland is to provide professional leadership in contributing to improvements in the health of the people of Scotland through promoting the works of the Colleges and Faculties. 


1.         Clinical Standards

To ensure patient safety is maximised by maintaining and improving standards within the profession

With the issues of clinical governance increasingly important, the Academy is in a position to oversee the development and maintenance of standards within the profession and provide advice in areas where difficulties are developing either in relation to particular services or the work of the particular specialties

The role of the Royal Colleges in maintaining clinical standards has already been proven by the development of the SIGN guidelines produced by multi-specialty and multi-disciplinary groups.

2.         Provision of Advice

The Academy provides a co-ordinated voice from the specialties in relation to education, training, clinical standards and effectiveness and research and quality which are supported and promoted by all constituent members.  It will provide advice to the Governments and their agencies, Health Boards and healthcare providers as well as voluntary agencies.  It is proactive in commenting on issues which cross specialties and which affect patient care.

3.         Education and Training

  1. Training – The Academy provides the opportunity for the specialties to exchange views, to co-ordinate approaches where appropriate and to solve cross-specialty issues.
  1. Continuing Medical Education – The Academy provides an effective forum for a co-ordinated approach to continuing medical education and professional development within the profession
  1. Revalidation – the Academy is committed to ensuring that, as well as continuing medical education, that doctors undergo regular revalidation of their extended skills
  1. Inter-disciplinary Education – There is an increasing emphasis on inter-disciplinary working.  The Academy explores and supports educational initiatives in this field

4.         Well Being of the Profession

The Academy provides advice and takes appropriate initiative on the issues that affect the well being of the profession.  It considers the major workforce problems of manpower, recruitment, retention and flexible working patterns.  It encourages the development of shared initiatives to support and enhance individual doctors’ well-being, competence and performance.


Royal College of Physicians

Faculty of Accident and Emergency Medicine

Royal College of Psychiatrists

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology

Royal College of Anaesthetists

Royal College of Pathologists

Royal College of Ophthalmologists

Faculty of Occupational Medicine

Scottish Committee of Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh

Royal College of General Practitioners

Royal College of General Practitioners

Faculty of Public Health Medicine

Faculties of Dental Surgery

Royal College of Radiologists

Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow

Trainee representative –

Lay members


BMA Scottish Council

Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board

NHS Education for Scotland

NHS Education for Scotland

Scottish Government

Scottish General Practitioners Committee

NHS Education for Scotland


It has been the experience of the Scottish Academy that it is often difficult to motivate people to sit on groups unless they are directly affected by the work.

Short-term Working Groups

There are a number of short-term working groups on which members of the Academy sit for a limited period of time: Clinical Skills Group, Quality Assurance, Workforce Planning, Transitional Boards and Patient Safety Boards.  It can be difficult to have enough people to sit on them.

Modernising Medical Careers (MMC) Specialty Training Board

Modernising Medical Careers (MMC) Selection and Recruitment Delivery Board

Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board (PMETB)

Scottish Government

UK Academy

There is no constitutional relationship with the UK Academy.  The three Scottish presidents attend all UK Academy meetings.  There is no official description of the relationship between the two Academies.  There is interaction between the two Academies on various projects: Future Workforce, E-learning, Reconfiguration of Service, Academic Careers, and Standards of Assessment of UK Training.

NHS Education for Scotland (NES)

There is a memorandum of Understanding between the Academy and NES, which was completed in 2007. 

NHS Quality Improvement Scotland (NHSQIS)

Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN)

NHS QIS attend meetings of the Academy whenever relevant as does (SIGN) There are representatives from many of the Speciality colleges in Scotland on SIGN Council as well as a specific representative of the Academy.

Scottish Consultants’ Committee (SCC)

There 1 member and 1 deputy member

Scottish Joint Consultants’ Committee (SJCC)

The Academy has 8 members on the SJCC and 3 Deputy members