Royal College of Anaesthetists

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The Royal College of Anaesthetists
Royal college of anaesthetist UK shield.jpg
The supporters of the coat of arms are the pioneering anaesthetists John Snow and Joseph Thomas Clover
Founded 1948
Founder Dr Archibald Marston
Focus Anaesthesia
Slogan Divinum sedare dolorem” (it is divine to alleviate pain)

The Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCoA) is the professional body responsible for the specialty of anaesthesia throughout the United Kingdom. It sets standards in anaesthesia, critical care, pain management, and for the training of anaesthetists, physician assistants (anaesthesia) - (specialist non-doctor anaesthetists) and practising critical care physicians. It also holds examinations for anaesthetists in training, publishes the British Journal of Anaesthesia, and informs and educates the public about anaesthesia. Its headquarters is in Churchill House, London.


The College’s activities are varied, but include the setting of standards of clinical care, establishing the standards for the training of anaesthetists and those practising critical care and acute and chronic pain management, setting and running examinations, and the continued medical education of all practising anaesthetists.


The College publishes guidance for its members and also has a newsletter (The College Bulletin), a journal (British Journal of Anaesthesia) and an educational journal (Continuing Education in Anaesthesia, Critical Care and Pain). The latter is written in collaboration with the Intensive Care Society and the British Pain Society.


The Royal College of Anaesthetists was awarded its royal charter in 1992, making it one of the youngest Royal Colleges of medicine. Prior to this time, it had existed as the College of Anaesthetists since 1988, when it split from the Royal College of Surgeons of England. Prior to 1988, it was known as the Faculty of Anaesthetists of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, which was formed in 1948. The roots of the college can be traced back to the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland, which was set up in 1932 by Sir Ivan Magill and others, and continues today.

Coat of arms and motto[edit]

The Coat of arms of the College shares some symbols and features with that of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. It also incorporates coca leaves to symbolise local anaesthesia, and opium poppy heads to symbolise analgesia. The figures on either side of the shield (known as supporters) are two pioneers of anaesthesia, John Snow and Joseph Thomas Clover. The College's motto is “Divinum sedare dolorem” (it is divine to alleviate pain).[1]


Diploma of Anaesthesia ('DA' - now defunct)
Fellowship of the Royal College of Anaesthetists (divided into the Primary FRCA and Final FRCA)


The College is made up from an elected Council of practising anaesthetists who elect a President and two Vice-Presidents from among their members. Particular areas of work are considered by Committees who report to the Council. As of November 2014, the President is Dr J-P Van Besouw and the Vice-Presidents are Dr Peter Venn and Dr Liam Brennan. The patron of the Royal College of Anaesthetists is The Princess Royal.

Four sections[edit]

  • Professional Standards Directorate:

The President, Professional Standards, Editorial and communication

  • Education Directorate:

Personnel, Events, Courses, Meetings, Continuing Professional Development, College Archives

  • Training and Examinations Directorate:

Training, Examinations, Quality Assurance of Training Environments, Overseas Doctors Training Scheme, Intensive Care

  • The College Secretary’s Office:

College Secretary, Finance, Membership services, Information Technology, Facilities, Venue Bookings


  • Academic and Research Committee
  • Anaesthesia Practitioners Committee
  • Audit and Internal Affairs Committee
  • Board of the Faculty of Pain Medicine
  • Communications Committee
  • Critical Care Advisory Group
  • eLearning Anaesthesia Executive Group
  • Equivalence Committee
  • Examinations Committee
  • Finance Committee
  • Intercollegiate Board for Training in Intentive Care Medicine (ICM)
  • Intercollegiate Committee for Training in Paediatric ICM
  • Joint AAGBI/RCoA Informatics Committee
  • Joint Committee on Good Practice
  • Joint Standing Committee of the RCoA and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
  • Nominations Committee
  • Northern Ireland Advisory Group
  • Patient Liaison Group
  • Professional Standards Committee
  • Quality Assurance Committee
  • RCoA Board in Scotland
  • Staff and Associate Specialists Committee
  • Training Committee

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The College Crest". The Royal College of Anaesthetists. 2014. Retrieved 12 September 2014. 

External links[edit]