A MARATHON cyclist will be in Taunton next Thursday (August 10) to help mark 500 years of the Royal College of Physicians.

Dr Andrew 'Bod' Goddard will drop by Musgrove Park Hospital on the fourth leg of his 2,018-mile ride around the UK.

Dr Goddard is visiting as many hospitals as possible in stages before September next year, inviting members of the RCP to sign a new RCP500 Charter produced for the anniversary.

Physicians at Musgrove are being invited to meet him and sign the charter atthe hospital’s Jubilee Concourse at lunchtime on Thursday.

Dr Goddard said: "Very few organisations reach 500 years old, let alone with their original aims intact.

"This is a great opportunity, not just to celebrate our past, but also to promote medicine as a brilliant and rewarding career, and reaffirm our commitment to patients.

"I’m delighted to have this opportunity and hope to meet as many of our members around the country as possible."

Henry VIII agreed to the setting up of the college in 1518 to protect people from unqualified medical practitioners, originally only in London.

Through the centuries the RCP has developed this original mission into its present day pledge to provide the highest standards of patient care in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The RCP500 Charter is a commitment to patients to:

  • Provide the highest standards of patient care;
  • Train, develop, and support doctors and healthcare professionals;
  • Champion research and innovation for patients’ benefit;
  • Act as leaders in developing, influencing and supporting high quality healthcare;
  • Promote good health and prevention of ill health.

The RCP’s chief executive Dr Ian Bullock said: "This is a great opportunity for the college to be present across all regions of the UK, in celebrating its history whilst declaring the need to be modern and relevant.

"We believe this cycle ride will really capture the imagination of physicians invited to sign up to the quincentennial charter, stating their personal commitment to a modern NHS.

"It enables all involved to reflect on the first 500 years of RCP history, whilst looking forward to many more years of relevance and impact."

The RCPCharterCycle: 2018for2018 will also raise money for Physicians for Africa, a flagship project of the RCP which seeks to improve access to well-trained physicians in East, Central and Southern Africa.

The lack of access to well-trained physicians in this region is stark - one physician per 100,000 people in Malawi, compared to 280 per 100,000 in the UK.

Over the course of the year Dr Goddard hopes to raise £100,000 which will help establish 12 new physician training units in six countries where access to doctors is limited, often impossible, for tens of millions of people.