Message from the Chief Executive Officer

Our inspiring, international College community continues to grow and our global membership sits at its highest ever in our 420 year history. Over the course of the 2018-19 year, we welcomed 1,142 new members, bringing our global membership community of healthcare professionals to 14,590 working across 92 different countries. We are a truly inclusive, diverse and thriving international College with 75% of our membership now sitting outside Scotland.

Our clinical volunteers continue to make an exceptional and selfless contribution to our College. Their commitment enables our College to deliver the highest quality of education, examinations, and membership support activities. In 2018-19, 10,810 hours of our members’ time was given to supporting our activities, and a total of 2,191 examiner days were contributed. This marks an outstanding level of voluntary commitment and leadership for the ongoing advancement of our work.

Throughout the year, we sharpened the focus of our delivery on three broad strategic priorities:

  • To deliver an educational and assessment programme that responds to and meets the needs of our members and prospective members, enabling them to deliver the highest standards of care to their patients
  • To engage and connect with our members and prospective members in a way which is both effective and impactful in order to strengthen and add value to our mutually beneficial relationship
  • To raise our profile across healthcare, public and political domains as an influencer of change for the common good

My annual report this year highlights the progress we have made against each of these.

We welcomed almost 6,500 people to our 181 educational conferences and courses. More than 26,000 CPD points were awarded and 3,343 eLearning modules were downloaded. Delegates consistently rate our education at a very high standard, and this is testament to the 1,245 trainers and teachers who have been involved in the development and delivery of our extensive educational offering in the last year. We are also grateful to our education partners who have worked with us to deliver tailored programmes to meet specific needs of the profession.

Almost 50% of our exams activity is now delivered outside the UK. We welcomed 3,784 exam candidates to the 23 different types of exams we support. Our exams were delivered across 39 centres around the world. We also continue to play a strong leadership and influencing role in the intercollegiate medical, surgical and dental exam regulation and developmental activities. Through this work, some 494 new questions were submitted to our exam question banks. The delivery of examinations and assessment would not be possible without the contribution of our examiner panels and our partner host centres.

The UK NHS workforce is working under un-paralleled levels of resource pressure, and we have invested heavily in improving our levels of engagement and interaction with our members and prospective members. Our College network communities span all areas of the business from regional advisors and mentors, to educators and examiners, and we have made progress in further developing and growing these networks. The policy network was established in November 2018 to provide a route for our members to contribute to our consultation work. We also saw significant growth in the number of members of the trainees committee following efforts to better engage and connect with this important group who will play a key role in shaping the future of our College and the wider profession.

We successfully raised our profile across the healthcare, public and political arenas through our work in public affairs, intercollegiate engagement, public engagement and fundraising. Throughout 2018-19, our public affairs activity has focused around the key areas of workforce, Brexit, inclusivity, wellbeing and global health. Our digital presence has never been greater. Following the introduction of new GDPR regulations, more than 10,000 people signed up to receive regular email communications from us, and we have seen exponential growth in engagement through our social media channels.

Our College buildings in Glasgow have never been busier – throughout the course of the year, we welcomed over 13,000 people through our doors spanning the huge variety and breadth of events and activities we undertake as a College.

We welcomed over 650 new diplomates, along with their families and friends to our two stunning and colourful diploma ceremonies in autumn and spring.

More than 11,500 people accessed our heritage exhibition ‘Our Science and Art: Visualising the Human Body’, while our innovative digital heritage work provided enhanced access, via screen-based display and the heritage website; 442 new digital collection images were added to the website in 2018-19.

Through our public engagement and outreach activity, we reached out to 3,296 people at external events, and also welcomed 1,585 people to heritage events within the College. Our heritage activities are supported through valuable collaborations and partnerships across academic, public, cultural and health sectors.

1599 Ltd, our commercial events business grew their turnover to over £350K for the year and supported 188 external and corporate events, weddings and functions.

We worked through more than 16 formal applications for funding to the HOPE Foundation and we were delighted to award a total of £33,737 to seven projects.

In terms of our College people strategy, we have developed an organisational framework to ensure we consistently uphold the values and behaviours that fit with the professionalism expected of all those who interact with us. We celebrate these values through everything we undertake and do.

  • Community – Working together to support one another to succeed; listening to and engaging with partners and people, locally, nationally and globally to achieve our core purpose
  • Integrity – Valuing and learning from our heritage and commitment to excellence; never compromising on our core purpose, our standards and the quality of delivery
  • Innovative – Proactively challenging current thinking with a forward-looking agile approach that meets the changing needs of our members and all those who interact with us
  • Inspiring – Leading by example through open dialogue, teamwork and engagement to maximise our potential and affect change
  • Inclusive – Demonstrating care, kindness, civility, generosity, and mutual respect through the way we welcome, work and interact with people.

Despite the excellent progress we are making towards realising our strategic plans, the College’s financial position has remained a concern and the level of budget deficit we have been carrying has been unsustainable. Our expenditure has continued to outstrip our income and as a charity, we need to safeguard our long-term future and prosperity.

We continually scrutinise all our areas of activity and expenditure and towards the end of the financial year, we made some difficult decisions to reduce our staffing costs to more sustainable levels. In order to achieve this, we restructured the staff organisation in the College to accelerate our transformation, and to allow us to become a more agile, flexible and responsive organisation. Following a period of extensive consultation with those members of staff affected, the restructure regrettably resulted in staff redundancies and a reduction in our staffing headcount of ~16%.

Our College Staff have been simply remarkable throughout these immensely difficult and uncertain times, and they maintained their focus and commitment on realising our strategic goals. It is an enormous privilege and honour to work with them and I am proud of how they have taken all these challenges in their stride throughout the year.

In December 2018, Professor David Galloway demitted the office of President after completing his three year term as President. Personally, it was a tremendous privilege and honour to work with David and I commend all that he achieved during his three years as President. I learned so much under David’s leadership and valued his guidance and support throughout his term.

I was delighted to be working with Professor Jackie Taylor as our new President following her inauguration at the AGM in December 2018. Her fresh outlook and approach is really making a difference, people are really starting to sit up and take notice of the College. I have been inspired and motivated by her vision to establish this College as the “Go To Royal College” and our focus on workforce, inclusivity, wellbeing and resilience.