The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health was formerly founded after receiving its Royal Charter in 1996, although it’s history extends back to 1928 when the British Paediatric Association was formerly founded.
The British Paediatric Association (BPA) was set up with the aims of advancing the study of paediatrics and to promote friendship amongst paediatricians, and 'to advance, for the benefit of the public, education in child health and paediatrics and to relieve sickness by promoting improvements in paediatric practice'. The inaugural meeting was held on the 2nd February 1928 in Still’s House at 28 Queen Anne Street, and despite invitations to twenty four people, only six attended. Sir George Frederic Still, Professor of Paediatrics at King's College London, became the first President and Dr Donald Paterson, a Canadian paediatrician working in London, was the first Honorary Secretary.The first aim of the association was the advancement of the study of paediatrics and the promotion of friendship amongst paediatricians. Between its foundation in 1928 and 1939, the major activity of the association was the organisation of the Annual General Meeting, where the focus was on social activities and the presentation of scientific papers.
Following the outbreak of World War Two, the BPA was involved in lobbying central government for measures to safeguard the health of evacuated children. Subsequently, the BPA grew to be an organisation that actively sought for improvements in child health. This included publishing papers and guidelines on clinical practice, undertaking research and organising conferences.A research unit was established in 1993 to develop, integrate the research, audit and surveillance activities that were being undertaken on an adhoc basis. Throughout the 1970s and 80s BPA members began to feel that paediatrics needed to have its own Royal College. The association received Royal College status in August 1996, and took responsibility for the training and education of paediatricians in the UK. Sir Roy Meadow became its first President and HRH the Princess Royal, its Patron.
In 1996, upon receiving the Royal Charter and following negotiations with the three other UK Colleges of Physicians, the organisation became responsible for postgraduate and medical education, including continuing professional development.
The governing body of the RCPCH is its Council, comprising the President and Honorary Officers, elected representatives from England, Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland and elected representatives of trainees and associate members.
Council delegates many of its functions to standing committees and the College also sets up ad hoc working parties to deal, as necessary, with a wide range of particular subjects. Many of the College’s standing committees and working parties are established jointly with other professional bodies. Such committees produce reports, initiate special enquiries and make recommendations in policy and action to parent bodies
The RCPCH also supports paediatric specialty groups concerned with scientific and other aspects of the various paediatric specialties. They act independently but liaise closely with the RCPCH; membership of the groups is not necessarily confined to members of the RCPCH.
The RCPCH is a registered charity to which members contribute by an annual subscription. Officers, committee members, working party members and representatives act in an honorary capacity.
Members are supported by the College Staff, who as of 2012 work within four divisions:
- Education and training
- Research and Policy
- Corporate Services