Message from the President​

Professor Sir Mark Caulfield, President of the BPS 2024-2026

I would like to begin by thanking Professor Clive Page, who was President of the BPS 2022-2023. The work he did during his term has ensured a renewed direction for the Society, and I intend to follow in his footsteps in my own term as President.
2023 was a significant year for the BPS. For members, it was another year of adjusting to new ways of working post-pandemic, but with some aspects returning to normal, such as more global travel – which resulted in a busy and successful 19th World Congress of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology– and university campuses opening up again, providing better opportunities for our academic members to work and research.

It was also a year of great challenge for the BPS. It has long been expected that income from our publishing portfolio would drop due Open Access policy changing the balance between subscription and Open Access income. In 2023 this reality started to directly show on the balance sheet of the BPS. Combined with the increasing costs associated with delivering high quality meetings and operational costs rising, we had to look at our own operational activity, and explore ways to future-proof the Society’s funds while remaining committed to our objectives. Council worked closely with Rachel Lambert Forsyth, our CEO, last year to agree a restructure. While this decision was difficult for all involved, it will ensure the BPS can run for many years to come, continuing to benefit the pharmacology community, and, as a result, the picture of drug research, development, discovery and prescribing for patients in the UK and globally.

2023 marked the mid-point for our three-year strategy, and Council worked with the senior leadership team to review our objectives and identify how we could continue to work towards them when finances are under pressure. And while our core objectives remain unchanged, we have had to create more streamlined approaches to projects. A key part of this is to encourage more member involvement in BPS work, and I encourage you to show your support by attending meetings, getting involved in committee work, writing content for us, submitting your research to our journals and encouraging colleagues, students and your wider network to engage with the BPS.

One of the most important projects undertaken in 2023 was the independent review of the Prescribing Safety Assessment (PSA) exam, chaired by Prof Dame Jane Dacre. This is a joint BPS Medical Schools Council initiative which has now been sat by over 80,000 medical students or doctors. The outcome of this report recommends that appropriate and mandatory assessment of prescribing should remain as a condition of practice for doctors in the UK.

The report went on to recommend that the UK Prescribing Safety Assessment should be considered as a requirement for medical practice in the UK as either a summative assessment as an exit from medical school or as an entry requirement for FY1. It should also be required for international medical graduates licensing (IMGs) via the PLAB route for entry at FY1 and FY2. This is an important recommendation for the UK PSA, aims to enhance patient safety by creating more competence and consistency among those prescribing and there is circumstantial evidence it has reduced alongside other measures prescribing errors. We will continue to work alongside our partners, the Medical Schools Council, to consider how best to implement the recommendations. This project highlights one of the many ways in which the BPS are working to create demonstrable change for patients through pharmacological research and practice and we are very grateful to all the members whoc give their time to set questions and assure the high quality of this assessment.

I would like to thank our members for their participation in projects, attendance at meetings and for sharing their thoughts throughout the year. I would also like to thank the BPS staff, who have worked tirelessly in what was a busy and challenging year. I look forward to working with you all throughout my Presidency, and encourage members from all career levels to get in touch and tell us what they would like to see the BPS do next.

Next: Strengthening the foundation of clinical pharmacology
Previous: Message from the CEO​
Go back to Annual Review 2023