Royal College of Anaesthetists

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The Royal College of Anaesthetists
Royal college of anaesthetist UK shield.jpg
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.

In 2017 the college carried out a survey of 2,300 trainee anaesthetists and reported that 85% were at risk of becoming burned out because of long hours, fears about patient safety, the disruption of working night shifts and long commutes to their hospital. 64% felt their job had affected their physical health and 61% their mental health. 68% had stayed up to two hours after a shift in the last month, and 28% had done more than two hours unpaid overtime at least once.[1]


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 (BJA Education).


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 sleep (the poppy head is symbolic of the Greek God Hypnos). 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).[2]


  • Diploma of Anaesthesia ('DA' - now defunct)
  • Fellowship of the Royal College of Anaesthetists (divided into the Primary FRCA and Final FRCA)[3]


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 September 2015, the President is Dr Liam Brennan and the Vice-Presidents are Dr Richard Marks and Dr Jeremy Langton. The patron of the Royal College of Anaesthetists is The Princess Royal.

Four Directorates[edit]


  • Anaesthesia Related Professionals Committee
  • Anaesthetists as Educators
  • Audit and Internal Affairs Committee
  • CPD Board
  • Education Committee
  • Equivalence Committee
  • Examinations Committee
  • FICM Board
  • FICM Professional Standards Committee
  • FICM Training and Assessment Committee
  • Finance Committee
  • FPM Board
  • FPM Professional Standards Committee
  • FPM Training and Assessment Committee
  • Heritage Committee
  • Intercollegiate Committee for ACCS Training
  • Intercollegiate Committee for Training in PICM
  • Lay Committee
  • National Honours Committee
  • National Institute for Academic Anaesthesia Board
  • National Institute of Academic Anaesthesia Research Council
  • Nominations Committee
  • Professional Standards Committee
  • Quality Management of Service Group
  • Recruitment Committee
  • Revalidation Committee
  • Safe Anaesthesia Liaison Group (SALG)
  • Staff and Associate Specialist Committee
  • Trainee Committee
  • Training Committee
  • Training e-Portfolio User Group
  • Workforce Advisory Group
  • Workplace Based Assessment Working Party

Deans and Presidents[edit]

Deans and Presidents of the Faculty, College and Royal College are listed below with terms of office in brackets.


  • Dr Archibald D Marston CBE (1948 to 1952)
  • Dr Bernard Johnson (1952 to 1955)
  • Dr Frankis T Evans (1955 to 1958)
  • Professor Sir Geoffrey Organe (1958 to 1961)
  • Professor William W Mushin (1961 to 1964)
  • Professor T Cecil Gray CBE (1964 to 1967)
  • Dr W Derek Wylie (1967 to 1970)
  • Dr Cyril F Scurr CBE (1970 to 1973)
  • Professor Sir Gordon Robson CBE (1973 to 1976)
  • Dr J Edmund Riding CBE (1976 to 1979)
  • Dr John F Nunn (1979 to 1982)
  • Professor Sir Donald Campbell (1982 to 1985)
  • Dr Aileen K Adams CBE (1985 to 1988)



  1. ^ "Two-thirds of young hospital doctors under serious stress, survey reveals". Guardian. 11 February 2017. Retrieved 11 February 2017. 
  2. ^ "The College Crest". The Royal College of Anaesthetists. 2014. Retrieved 12 September 2014. 
  3. ^ "THE HISTORY OF ANAESTHESIA SOCIETY PROCEEDINGS — Vol 45: 25th Anniversary" (PDF). History of Anaesthesia Society. 2012. 

External links[edit]