In the 17th century Edinburgh physicians began to meet in their own homes to discuss the regulation of medical practice and ways in which standards in medicine could be improved. Sir Robert Sibbald, an eminent physician and noted historian, was a member of this group. Through his friendship with the King’s Physician, he had the opportunity to petition King Charles II who granted the College its Royal Charter in 1681.
The founding Fellows of the College were concerned not only with the advancement of medicine as a reputable science, but also with alleviating the miseries of the city’s poor and needy. In 1682 the College established the first dispensary in Britain to distribute free medicine to the sick poor and was
instrumental in founding the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh in 1729.
For more than 300 years, the College has remained independent of control by government and its mission today remains close to the ideals of its founders, namely to promote the highest standards in internal medicine.
Click on the links below to learn more about the College’s remarkable history.