Postgraduate medical education in Ghana started in August 1972 when eight young and promising doctors, who had passed an entrance examination, were enrolled in the Departments of Medicine and Surgery of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital to prepare for the first parts of the examinations of the Royal College of Physicians of London and the Royal College of Surgeons of England. Two years later, the West African Postgraduate Medical College came into existence to take charge of postgraduate medical training in Anglophone West Africa. Individuals as well as Ghana Medical Association had made a call for a national postgraduate medical college for many years. There had always been the competing argument that the West African Postgraduate Medical College offered sufficient opportunity and that there was no need for a separate Ghana Postgraduate Medical College. The advocates for a college had pointed to the fact that besides its membership of the sub-regional College, Nigeria had its own National Postgraduate Medical College.
In June 2000, a taskforce was constituted to study and make proposals on a Ghana Postgraduate Medical College. In June 2001, Prof. P. K. Nyame was appointed as Acting Rector with the task of establishing the College. Meanwhile, arguments for and against the establishment of the College continued to be made. A consensus meeting of the medical and dental professions held in Kumasi in January 2002 resolved the matter in favour of the pro-Ghana College advocates. With a clear mandate from the profession, the Parliament of Ghana passed the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons Bill in December 2002; a bill which received support from both sides of Parliament. It received Presidential Assent in early 2003 and is now The Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons Act 635 of 2003.
The College has adopted the philosophy that all “practitioners”, be they doctors or dentists, are basically physicians. A College of Physicians and Surgeons, with Fellows and Members from various specialties, sharing knowledge and experience, was considered more appropriate than the traditional separation into “physicians” and “surgeons”. In terms of nomenclature, Ghana is repeating what have been done in Bangladesh, Canada, Glasgow and South Africa where their Colleges are “College of Physicians and Surgeons”.