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The Royal College of Psychiatrists launches its first International Strategy

In June 2020, WPA member society the Royal College of Psychiatrists, published its first-ever International Strategy, fulfilling a membership aspiration and reflecting the College’s international role. With almost a fifth of the college membership based outside the UK and around half of its UK-based members having obtained their primary medical qualification outside the UK, the Royal College of Psychiatrists is truly an international organisation.

The College structure of 6 International Divisions reflects the spread of its membership outside the UK and across the globe. Furthermore, the College is engaged in wide ranging mental health activities internationally:

  • The MRCPsych is an international exam – exam centres in Oman, Singapore, Malta, Hong Kong and India

  • CPD Online for psychiatrists is delivered in Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Estonia and Malta

  • The Faculties of the College are engaged in shaping policy in Europe and beyond

  • Our public health leaflets related to mental health translated into 25 languages & MindEd offers free online education resources

  • CCQI (College Centre for Quality Improvement) has 27 members outside the UK

  • The College has an active volunteer scheme, and VIPSIG (Volunteer and International Psychiatry Special Interest Group) is among the largest Special Interest Groups of the College. The College has delivering volunteering projects in Sub-Saharan Africa, India, across the Middle East and North Africa, and in Myanmar

  • The MTI (Medical Training Initiative) scheme, which provides training opportunities in the UK for overseas doctors, is well established and continues to grow in numbers and strength

It was important to capture the international membership of the college and its role at a strategic level. Following a concerted effort with wide ranging consultation and a series of workshops, the College started to develop its first International Strategy in 2019. The strategy sets out the values and principles that govern the College’s international work and outlines an ambitious plan of action for the next three years. In particular, the College would like to strengthen its volunteer offer by sharing the accumulative knowledge and experience it possess, through its membership, with colleagues globally to deliver high-quality patient-centred care. Building on existing links, the College will focus on areas where there is urgent need for support and the college is able to help in collaboration with local and international stake holders.

The new President of the college, Dr Adrian James, and the leadership of the college demonstrated commitment to delivering the strategy by appointing a Presidential Lead for International Affairs, Professor Mohammed Al-Uzri, as well as enhancing resources for the International Team and revamping the International Advisory Committee of the college to focus on delivering strategic objectives. The strategy is strengthened with an operational model that strives to be carbon neutral and ensure sustainability. It is early days but already the college engaged in number of new volunteering projects and plans underway to enhance the training offer to international psychiatric trainees.

Dr Adrian James
Professor Mohammed Al-Uzri


Authors: Professor Mohammed Al-Uzri, RCPsych Presidential Lead for International Affairs



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