Published: 06/12/2001, Volume III, No. 5784 Page 8

The royal medical colleges are the 'historic embodiment of traditional, elite, autonomous and unaccountable professionalism'and 'seem an anachronism and a costly obstacle to team-based, collaborative professional care', an audience at City University, London, heard last week. New Jersey University of Medicine and Dentistry professor of comparative healthcare systems Donald Light said the time had come 'to review the nature, scope and actions'of the colleges. He said they were acting as a block to the development of clinical teams and substitution, especially to specialist nurses, that would provide better care at less cost.