Royal Society of Medicine

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Royal Society of Medicine
Formation1912 05 21
HeadquartersLondon, W1G 0AE
  • United Kingdom
Official language
Roger Kirby

The Royal Society of Medicine (RSM) is a medical society in the United Kingdom, headquartered in London.[1]


The Society was established in 1805 as Medical and Chirurgical Society of London,[2] meeting in two rooms in barristers’ chambers at Gray's Inn and then moving to Lincoln's Inn Fields where it stayed for 25 years. In 1834 the Society moved to Berners Street and was granted a Royal Charter by King William IV.[citation needed]

In 1889 under the leadership of Sir John MacAlister,[3] a Building Committee chaired by Timothy Holmes supervised the move of the quarters of the Society from Berners Street to 20 Hanover Square. In 1905 an eleven-member committee headed by Sir Richard Douglas Powell organised the celebration of the Society's centenary.[4] Two years later the Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society of London came together with seventeen specialist medical societies and, with a supplementary Royal Charter granted by Edward VII, became the Royal Society of Medicine.[citation needed]

In 1910 the Society acquired the site on the corner of Wimpole Street and Henrietta Place, which was opened by King George V and Queen Mary in May 1912.


The Council is the governing body of the Society and is responsible for setting the overall strategic direction of the RSM. Council members are the Society's Trustees.[5] The Council is chaired by the President, who has a three-year term of office.[citation needed]

There are four Standing Committees (Education, Audit and Risk, Finance and Investment, Remuneration, People and Culture).

The Chief Executive[6] is responsible for the day-to-day management and leads the Senior Management Team, comprising the Directors and the Dean of Education. Each Director has their own specific responsibilities.[7]


Recent presidents of the society have been:

Previous presidents of note of the former Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society of London were:


The Royal Society of Medicine headquarters, 1 Wimpole Street, London, England.

The RSM has a global network of 20,000 members.[8]

Fellowship of the RSM[9] is open to those who hold a UK recognised medical, dental or veterinary qualification, or a higher scientific qualification in a healthcare related field. Associate membership[10] is open to those who do not qualify for Fellowship but who work within the healthcare sector or have an interest in healthcare issues. The Society also welcomes student members of medicine, dentistry and veterinary science as members plus other healthcare students.[11] In addition there are up to one hundred Honorary Fellows, drawn from internationally distinguished members of the medical profession and branches of science and allied humanities, who are awarded this honour by Council.[12]

Famous Honorary Fellows (of the Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society of London) include:


The RSM has 55 Sections and Societies[13] that cover all the major specialties and topics of interest in medicine and healthcare. Together the Section Councils are responsible for planning the majority of the RSM’s education programme. Each Section is led by a Section President, and supported by its respective Section Council, which members may apply to join.[14]

Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine[edit]

The Royal Society of Medicine’s two journals, the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine[15] (JRSM) and JRSM Open,[16] are outlets for scholarly comment and clinical research in the specialties of medicine and surgery.  

Published by SAGE Publishing,[17] the journals are editorially independent from the Royal Society of Medicine, and their editor is Dr Kamran Abbasi.JRSM Open is an online-only journal that follows the open-access publishing model. A companion to JRSM, the journal publishes research papers, research letters, clinical reviews and case reports in all specialties and from all countries.  [citation needed]


The annual Ellison-Cliffe Travelling Fellowship of £15,000 is open to Fellows of the Royal Society of Medicine working in the UK or Ireland who are of specialist registrar or lecturer grade or equivalent or who are consultants within 3 years of their first consultant appointment. The prize covers expenses for travel abroad in pursuit of further study, research or clinical training relevant to the applicant's current interests. The History of Medicine Society's prestigious Norah Schuster prize is awarded annually to an essay in the history of medicine.[18][19]

The Society's Gold Medal is awarded for outstanding contribution to medicine. Past recipients have included Wilfred Trotter (1938), Sir Alexander Fleming (1947), Lord Florey (1947), Sir Martin John Evans (2009), Lord Walton of Detchant (2014), Sir Michael Marmot (2017) and more recently Dame Sarah Gilbert (2021).[citation needed]

The Edward Jenner Medal was originally established in 1896 by the Epidemiological Society of London (1850–1907) to commemorate the centenary of Edward Jenner's discovery of a means of smallpox vaccination. It is awarded periodically by the RSM to individuals who have undertaken distinguished work in epidemiological research.[citation needed]

The Society hosts the annual Ellison-Cliffe Lecture concerning the advancement of medicine, along with the associated award of a medal. Past presenters/recipients include Sir Walter Bodmer, Lord George Porter, Sir Colin Blakemore and Kevin Warwick.[citation needed]


The RSM is home to one of the largest medical libraries in Europe.[20] It is open to members of the public,[21] who can visit its exhibitions and become temporary members to make use of its reference facilities. The Library represents one of the largest postgraduate biomedical collections in Europe and contains around 600,000 volumes. This includes William Harvey's Exercitatio anatomica de motu cordis et sanguinisin animalbus. Due to its historical Library holdings, the Royal Society of Medicine is a member of The London Museums of Health & Medicine group.[22]


  1. ^ "RSM library". Retrieved 3 December 2013.
  2. ^ Hunting, P (2005). "The Royal Society of Medicine". Postgraduate Medical Journal. 81 (951): 45–48. doi:10.1136/pgmj.2003.018424. PMC 1743179. PMID 15640428.
  3. ^ Centenary, 1805–1905, Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society of London. 1906. p. 186.
  4. ^ Centenary, 1805–1905, Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society of London. 1906. pp. 313–314.
  5. ^ "THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF MEDICINE - Charity 206219". Retrieved 30 March 2022.
  6. ^ "Michele Acton: How can charity leaders successfully deliver change in uncertain times?". Retrieved 30 March 2022.
  7. ^ "How we are governed".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. ^ "Join the RSM". Retrieved 30 March 2022.
  9. ^ "RSM Fellowship" Royal Society of Medicine Fellowship
  10. ^ "Associate Membership | The Royal Society of Medicine". Retrieved 30 March 2022.
  11. ^ "Student membership".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. ^ "Members' Club | The Royal Society of Medicine". Retrieved 30 March 2022.
  13. ^ "RSM Sections and networks | The Royal Society of Medicine". Retrieved 30 March 2022.
  14. ^ "Join a Section Council | The Royal Society of Medicine". Retrieved 12 March 2021.
  15. ^ "JRSM" JRSM
  16. ^ "JRSM Open".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  17. ^ "Sage Publishing".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  18. ^ Penelope., Hunting (2002). The history of the Royal Society of Medicine. London: Royal Society of Medicine Press. p. 333. ISBN 1853154970. OCLC 47271565.
  19. ^ "RSM History of Medicine Society".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  20. ^ "HLISD: Health Libraries and Information Services Directory". Retrieved 30 March 2022.
  21. ^ "London Museums of Health & Medicine".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  22. ^ "Medical Museums". Retrieved 26 August 2016.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°30′58″N 0°08′50″W / 51.5161°N 0.1471°W / 51.5161; -0.1471