A note from the President and Chief Executive

The working lives and expectations of healthcare professionals have changed beyond recognition since the Royal Society of Medicine (RSM) was established in 1805.

Today there are new global issues to manage - from health inequalities to the effect of climate change. Coupled with the day-to-day reality of work for many healthcare professionals, this is a time of enormous challenge. There is more pressure than ever in terms of workloads and increased demands with limited resources. And this is combined with the move to multidisciplinary teams and the changing roles of individuals. All of this has impacted on the type of training and time now required for healthcare professionals to keep abreast of the latest developments.

But what has not changed is the role of the RSM. For 200 years, we have been bringing people together and sharing learning.

With our new strategy, we are preparing to play a transformative role in supporting and inspiring healthcare professionals to embrace opportunities and tackle the challenges we face now – and into the future.

Professor Roger Kirby, President
Michele Acton, Chief Executive

The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the vital role we play in convening healthcare professionals and providing education, as well as being a trusted and sought-after medical voice in the UK and across the globe.

In our 2021–2026 strategy, we share our plans for transforming every aspect of our work and membership offering to enable us to deliver our vision: better healthcare for better lives. It is a five-year strategy that embraces the work of our section volunteers, staff and members, and sets out a framework in which we can thrive and which can build the resilience we need to face our future challenges.

And it is clear about the RSM’s purpose: to be the leading provider of continuing learning to healthcare professionals. To deliver this strategic goal, we will focus on four pillars:

  • Education: Delivering multidisciplinary specialist and general education as well as professional development
  • Learning Resources: Providing excellent healthcare resources
  • Networks: Connecting those involved in, and interested in, healthcare
  • Innovation Support: Leveraging expertise from across the RSM to help innovators

Our strategy describes how we will develop high-quality, relevant education programmes that offer participants the chance to learn from, and engage with, the best and brightest minds in medicine and healthcare. It sets out how we will become an easily accessible, leading digital medical library for researchers and those who want to stay ahead.

It explains how our education events will offer new opportunities for multidisciplinary learning by connecting with, talking to, and learning from, and with, others. This will be done in attractive in-person and online spaces fit for this modern age.

And it shows how the breadth of knowledge brought to our education will support innovators developing the medical products and services of tomorrow.

We look forward to a revitalised and sustainable future in which the RSM is in an unassailable position to deliver another 100 years of success.

Read the strategy

What the RSM means to our members

From medical student to trainee, and from established consultant to charity leader, researcher and innovator, we celebrate the experience and insights of our members from across the broad spectrum of healthcare today, and the exceptional contributions they are making to the education and life of the RSM.

Regi Alexander

Professor Regi Alexander

Consultant psychiatrist and President, RSM Intellectual Disability Section

As a safe space to interact with clinical colleagues from other medical specialties, the RSM provides an invaluable academic forum. Quite often, I have found this useful in validating my core identity as a doctor.

I have attended a range of events at the RSM, not just on psychiatry and mental health, but also, for related disciplines like paediatrics, genetics and forensic medicine.

The opportunity to have a base in London for a fellow from the ‘provinces’ has also been very useful. Whilst President of the RSM’s Intellectual Disability Section, I have been able to work with colleagues to test out a number of newer developments; from the use of virtual platforms to the increased participation and visibility of patients and service users at the heart of our programmes.

Allyson Egan

Dr Allyson Egan

Consultant in nephrology and past President of the RSM Nephrology Section

The RSM has been ever-present throughout my academic and teaching life. The greatest honour of my career has been to sit on the Council of the RSM Nephrology Section, where I co-founded and organised the annual President’s Prize for trainees, and co-hosted webinars to adapt to the changing educational requirements of recent times.

As an educationalist, the multi-professional, collaborative network of learning at the RSM is hugely important, connecting us with other disciplines, nationally and internationally, and giving real dynamism to our nephrology programmes as a result.

In our world, we are all lifelong learners and the RSM Library has always been an amazing jewel in the crown of the Society. The digital library is a wonderful resource for people around the world and has fundamentally changed the way I learn. It’s a complete portable network and I’ve used it for all my learning and writing during the pandemic.

Luis Falcato

Luis Falcato

Head of research, Arud Zentrum für Suchtmedizin

For me, as a research manager at a private non-profit addiction clinic, the RSM offers the best return on investment in terms of online full-text access to English-language medical literature. This is of great importance to me as Arud is also a training facility for psychiatric and general medical specialties. That’s why our facility encourages all its therapeutic staff members to take out membership of the RSM.

I regularly use the online resources through the RSM website to find and access journal articles; sometimes in combination with Pubmed queries, both when working on our scientific projects and during continuing education.

Geoffrey Guy

Dr Geoffrey W Guy

Founder of GW Pharmaceuticals and Chairman of The Guy Foundation

The RSM played a big role in assisting an august body of physicians and scientists to assess our data. I have been, and remain, grateful to the Society for its open-minded values and the support it has provided me.

Bernard Ho

Dr Bernard Ho

Locum consultant in dermatology and lymphoedema and President, RSM Trainees Section

I joined the RSM as a medical student because the Society was offering final-year and specialty revision lectures. Since then, I’ve found the learning opportunities for trainees at the RSM have been beneficial in helping me build my career. Getting involved with the Trainees Section has given me the opportunity to step up to different levels of responsibility and contribute to the work of the Society.

The regular Dermatology Section meetings have been really good for connecting with clinicians and learning from each other, as well as catching up on a social level too. Being a member of the RSM isn’t just about connecting with medics. You get the opportunity to collaborate with veterinary and dentistry colleagues as well as allied health professionals across the different medical specialties.

Working with these colleagues to run cross-section events is something that’s going to be very important to me as I take over as President of the Trainees Section.

Akib Khan

Mr Akib Khan

Trauma and orthopaedic specialty registrar and Council member, RSM Orthopaedic Section Council

My experience with the RSM started several years ago when I attended the Surgery Section President’s prizes meeting. From the moment I got there, I was drawn into, not just the quality of the discussions, but also the ease of how the information was transferred in both the lecture style and also in the seminar groups.

For me, the RSM has really been a beacon of educational excellence and it’s been crucial to my own professional development since I qualified as a doctor. The annual three-day trauma meeting at the RSM is perhaps the most impactful trauma conference in the country and was one of the formative events I attended in my senior house officer years. The understanding I gained gave me the confidence to pursue orthopaedics as a career.

Greta Westwood

Professor Greta Westwood

Chief Executive Officer, Florence Nightingale Foundation

Being involved with the RSM as an invited speaker, and also through listening to conversations hosted by the Society featuring high-profile people in the world of healthcare, has helped with my own professional development as a charity leader and registered nurse.

The location is amazing and it’s a great place to meet with colleagues or relax in a safe and friendly environment.

Lois ZacWilliams

Lois Zac-Williams

Final-year medical student and Council member, RSM Student Section

I got involved with the RSM’s Student Section Council because I wanted to see more events for students that focused on personal development – things like taking care of yourself and understanding the patient/doctor relationship. By chairing an RSM student meeting on reflective practice, I had to make contact with quite a few different medical professionals and organisations.

Subsequently I was invited to join the student engagement group of the Balint Society which helps health and social care professionals to gain a better understanding of the emotional content of their relationship with patients or clients.

As well as encouraging me to connect with like-minded and driven people, the RSM has helped guide me on different career options, including holding some brilliant psychiatry meetings for students. It’s a specialty I’ll definitely be interested in once I’ve qualified.