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There are many stages to full qualification in British medicine. Until 2005 medical graduates were required to embark on a long process of training: initially as pre-registration house officers (one year), then as Senior House Officer (two years minimum). At this point they took exams for membership of the Royal College of their chosen speciality before moving on to become a Specialist registrar (for up to five years), the step before achieving Consultant status.
This grade has now disappeared with the implementation of the Government's Modernising Medical Careers strategy (2005), with the introduction of the Specialty Registrar role, which amalgamates the old roles of Senior House Officer and Specialist Registrar).
A number of Royal Colleges administer the medical professions in the UK, as follows:
|Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd)||Royal charter
|Royal College of Physicians (RCP)||Royal charter 1518|
|Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow (RCPSG)||Royal charter 1599|
|Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (RCPE)||Royal charter 1681|
|Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCS)||Royal charter 1800|
|Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS)||Royal charter 1844|
|Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych)||Royal charter 1926|
|Royal College of Nursing (RCN)||Royal charter 1928|
|Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG)||Royal charter 1947|
|Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP)||Royal charter 1952|
|Royal College of Radiologists (RCR)||Royal charter 1953|
|Royal College of Pathologists (RCPath)||Royal charter 1969|
|Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCO)||Royal charter 1988|
|Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCoA)||Royal charter 1992|
|Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH)||Royal charter 1996|