Records relating to the RCOG Scientific Advisory Committee and the Museum

Scope and Content

Records of the RCOG Scientific Advisory Committee, Museum and Pathology Committee, and Museum, comprising minute books, minutes and papers of the Scientific Advisory Committee and predecessors (1962-2009), papers of sub-committees and working parties, files relating to artificial insemination (1977-1991), fetal and perinatal pathology (1984-1987), fetal viability (1983-1988), cervical cytology screening (1985-1988), AIDS in relation to obstetrics and gynaecology (1986-1992), depo provera (1980-1984), and biochemical markers and the detection of Downs Syndrome (1992), the papers of Committee Chairmen (1978-1987), opinion and impact papers (2001-2012), the RCOG response to external consultation papers (2007-2009), and the administration of the College Tumour Registry; records of the College Secretary relating to meetings of the Museum and Pathology Committees (1946-1966), and records relating to the development of the College museum, including visitor books, accession registers, catalogues, lists of donations and gifts, case notes of pathological specimens (1938-1980s), the creation of a permanent museum display (2002-2006), and the correspondence of the museum curators (1938-1999).

Administrative / Biographical History

The RCOG Museum was established in 1938 to collect and display pathological specimens and surgical and obstetrical instruments. From 1988, following the transfer of most specimens to other hospitals, the museum's role was confined to the displaying of instruments. The museum was disbanded in 1999. The Museum Committee was established in 1945 to administer the College Museum. In 1949 it changed its name to the Pathology Committee.

The Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) was set up in 1950. Its terms of reference were as follows:

to examine suggestions put forward for research.

to advise Council on methods by which items of particular research could be carried out and to nominate, if necessary, ad hoc committees for the purpose.

to advise Council on priority of any particular items of research.

In the 1950's the membership of the Pathology Committee and the Scientific Advisory Committee is listed in the annual reports as if they were co-extensive, and Pathology Committee meetings are noted in their minutes as taking place immediately after Scientific Advisory Committee meetings. In July 1966 the two committees were amalgamated, and henceforth were known as the Scientific Advisory and Pathology Committee (SAPC). The word Pathology was dropped from the committee title in April 1984. The Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC), as it is now known, is currently serviced by the College's Clinical Governance and Standards Department and reports to the Standards Board. Its broad remit encompasses both basic and clinical science, including health services research. In 2008 it was defined as follows:

To 'Horizon scan' and debate relevant scientific issues, including future developments of relevance to the specialty.

To produce regular news items and/or opinion papers for the membership.

To contribute to College responses on national policies and direction.

To react to requests for scientific advice from Officers, committees, working parties and Fellows/Members of the College.

To advise Officers and appropriate committees about future national and international scientific and clinical meetings and study groups.

The College's Rare Tumour Registry was established in 1951 by agreement between the College and the governors of Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospitals. The Registry was to be located at the Chelsea Hospital for Women under the direction of the College's Pathology/Scientific Advisory Committee. A Registry for Diseases of the Trophoblast was established in 1961, and was administered as a subdivision of the Rare Tumour Registry. The word 'Rare' was dropped in 1964. In 1970 an Ovarian Tumour Panel was established and a renewed effort to register cases of hydatidiform mole was instituted. However, in 1973 the Tumour Registry was formally disbanded, except for the registration of cases of hydatidiform mole, which continued until circa 1988 (the Ovarian Tumour Panel was disbanded circa 1985). The registrar of the Tumour Registry was Magnus Haines (1909-1978). The registry for diseases of the trophoblast was organised by W W Parks and the prime mover on the Ovarian Tumour Panel was A D T Govan.

Access Information

Permission is required from College senior management prior to external access to records less than twenty years old.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies are made available at the discretion of the College Archivist and copyright is held by the RCOG.

Appraisal Information

The majority of pathological specimens from the museum were transferred to the Clinical Sciences Department of Leicester Royal Infirmary in 1985, while all other pathological specimens were securely destroyed in August 2010; the Tumour Registry was destroyed following analysis by Sheila Duncan, FRCOG, in 2002.

Custodial History

Primarily transferred to the Archives by the SAPC/SAC secretary and the honorary curator of the Museum; some files transferred by the College Secretary were also apparently placed in this series because of their relevant subject matter. Other records (primarily copies of publications) have come from the President's Office, the Deputy College Secretary's Office, and more latterly from the Library. There is little surviving documentation on transfers of records before the mid-1990s.

Related Material

Other related material held by the RCOG may be found at the following references:

RCOG/M17 For records of the Sub-specialisation Advisory group 1983-1984, which reported to the SAPC, see M17. It is possible that records of other sub-committees, working parties and surveys of SAC and its predecessors are among the classes with the prefix M

RCOG/E10 For records of SAPC and SAC on the administration of research awards, prizes, lectureships, and travel grants

RCOG/A7/4/20 The Honorary Secretary's papers relating to SAPC