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Royal College Approved Placements

Royal College Affiliated Programmes

Academy Statement on Volunteering: Health Professional Volunteers and Global Health Development issued by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges in March 2013 encourages support for the engagement of health professionals in voluntary work.  Citing the widening of Healthcare in the UK’s focus from local to global health related challenges and the resultant need to be more aware of health issues from a broader perspective and also in delivering that care in low resource environments.

Professionals who volunteer are able to expand their knowledge of global health as well as develop their own skills, to benefit not only the NHS but also improving health and healthcare in developing countries.

Royal College of Anaesthetists – Have developed a syllabus in collaboration with MSF to allow trainees who wish to spend some of their training in resource poor settings. Up to an indicative six months can be counted towards the general duties requirement i.e. an OOPT. There are various countries, including Zambia, Malawai and Uganda where trainees have undertaken placements. For more information see the RCA website

Royal College of General Practitioners – The RCGP in partnership with the VSO has developed a series of 12 month primary care placements for GPs in Makeni, Sierra Leone. They are currently seeking volunteers for this 60 for 60 programme, who may be able to start between September 2013 and January 2014.  You need to have completed your 3 years specialty training as a GP (ST3 and above).

For further information see website or email

Royal College of Nursing and Royal College of Midwifery – VSO Malawi Project –  ‘Bringing together Midwives and Nurses to Improve Maternal Health in Malawi through Volunteerism and Partnership ‘ This project is led by VSO, in conjunction with the RCM, RCN and the Malawian Initiative for National Development (MIND). Volunteers work hand-in-hand with Malawian health services to increase the professional skills, and nationwide coverage of its staff.


The project aims to improve the standards, status and position of midwifery education and practice  in three countries with identified high maternal and perinatal mortality – Cambodia, Nepal and Uganda.  At the core of the project is volunteer midwives. Now in its second year, the GMT project has enabled volunteers to travel overseas to their twinned country to bring reciprocal benefits to midwifery  services and  education.  Volunteers undertake a 2-4 week placement, with host countries receiving volunteers every 3 months and holding workshops every 6 months. The focus for these activities has been to strengthen different areas of each midwifery association and develop leadership, advocacy and campaigning skills at association and an individual level.
For more information please email
The RCM also supplies an advice and information booklet for those who may be considering or planning to practise midwifery overseas, please see here for more information.

Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists – Has several volunteering partners:

RCOG Fellowship Officer, Dr Sonia Barnfield MRCOG

Read Seeking approval for time ‘out of programme’ (OOP) for further advice.

Royal College of Paediatrics & Child Health Global Links Volunteer Programme – UK paediatricians will work in African hospitals alongside local staff to develop longstanding improvements in the quality of paediatric care. The College will also assist in obtaining Out of Programme Experience (OOPE).  Link volunteers up with UK paediatricians who have lived and worked overseas in the past to give you a first-hand account of what an overseas placement consists of.  Before the placement, you will attend a two-week training course at the College to help you prepare for your overseas placement.  The course will include the college’s Child Health in Low-Resource Settings course, plus other practical guidance for working in developing countries.  All expenses (e.g. flights, vaccinations) from Application to Overseas Process will be covered by the RCPCH, plus you will receive free accommodation and a monthly living allowance for the duration of your placement which will cover all your day-to-day expenses.

RCPCH/VSO Fellowship Scheme – The RCPCH/VSO scheme is currently recruiting for placements in Ethiopia, Tanzania, the Gambia and Sierra Leone. Fellows work for a year in a developing country, using their clinical, teaching and managerial skills to improve local paediatric services.

If you have, or expect to have, MRCPCH in the next six months and are interested see the VSO website – paediatrics section. Applications from Consultant Paediatricians are particularly welcome.

Royal College of Physicians – Basic medical training in South Sudan.  The RCP is working with Juba hospital in South Sudan to provide basic medical training to postgraduate students. We are looking for members and fellows to volunteer to deliver training for one or two weeks in 2014. For more information or to express your interest in volunteering, please email

Royal College of Psychiatrists – The College’s volunteer scheme aims to facilitate contact between hospitals, clinics, projects and communities in need of psychiatric expertise and training, and psychiatrists who are willing to offer their time and support.  The College has a database of over 120 of its Members that have registered to be volunteers.  These volunteers have provided details of their skills and experiences which include curriculum development, teaching, examining, mental health service and legislation development, research training and mental health integration into primary care.  The database also contains details of the languages they speak, their availability and any previous experience they may have had as a volunteer.  As well as independently organised placements, the College continues to work with organisations such as Challenges Worldwide, THET and WHO to place volunteers across the globe. Completed placements over the last year have included the Department of Psychiatry in Ethiopia, a WHO Pacific Island Mental Health Network placement in the Solomon Islands and a Challenges Worldwide placement based at the Pantang Hospital in Ghana.

As part of the Health Partnerships Scheme, your NHS employer contributions will be covered whilst you are overseas, see Pension Support Fund (Doc, 141KB, 4 pages). 


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