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Achievements of the RCOG

Throughout its history, the College has worked to improve women’s health care both in the UK and worldwide. This page lists some of the RCOG’s main achievements.

  • 1929: The College was a pioneer in medical training by insisting that the right to hold exams and grant diplomas be written into the College’s Articles of Association in 1929, and by insisting on specified periods of training. The College was thus able to raise the standards of practice of obstetrics and gynaecology (O&G), unfettered by the traditional Conjoint Diploma of the two traditional medical colleges.
  • 1929: The College was active in the Dominions and Colonies from its foundation, in particular in offering membership of a medical college to medics in New Zealand and South Africa for the first time. 
  • 1939–45: The College worked with the Ministry of Health to provide gynaecological services to WRNS, ATS, WAAF and women war workers, appointing regional professors of O&G as consultant gynaecologists to the forces, and ensuring that consultant gynaecologists had a role in recruiting centres. 
  • 1952: The College collaborated in the sponsorship of the Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths in England and Wales. 
  • 1950s onwards: The College has for many years been given representation on all the standing and ad hoc committees of enquiry established by the DHSS, giving it a voice in maternal and perinatal issues. 
  • 1967: The College established a Postgraduate Education Committee, inviting representatives from the Committee of Postgraduate Deans, a senior registrar and an observer from the DHSS. Postgraduate developments throughout the 1960s and 1970s helped to extend the influence of the College, and many of the proposals in the 1968 report of the Royal Commission on Medical Education was based on training and systems in operation at the RCOG. 
  • 1970: The RCOG began an annual programme of Study Groups, the first being on ‘methods of the assay of steroid hormones and their significance in obstetrics and gynaecology’. This programme, covering a wide range of subjects, made a significant contribution to rising standards in the specialty. 
  • 1972: The RCOG’s Working Party on Unplanned Pregnancy had a significant impact on gynaecological practice.
  • 1983: The RCOG was the first College or medical institution to develop an overseas doctors training scheme. 
  • 1989: The RCOG began its annual census of the workforce in O&G, which has assisted the College in difficult negotiations with the Department of Health to improve numbers in the workforce. 
  • 1994: The RCOG was one of the first medical royal colleges to commence mandatory continuing medical education for its members. 
  • 2010: The College was very proactive regarding working with others to raise awareness about the potential of a swine flu epidemic, and provision of up-to-date online information for the public was widely recognised by the Department of Health and received a mention in Parliament for the College’s lead role in the provision of good quality information.

Elsewhere on the site

RCOG museum
The College’s interactive display showcasing 500 years of development and innovation in women's health care
College archives
Find out about the College’s historic records and heritage collections