Clinical Pharmacology Skills Alliance launched to combat clinical pharmacology skills shortage

For some time, the UK health and research sectors have been suffering from a shortfall in skilled clinical pharmacologists.

Recognising the scale and depth of this challenge, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), the British Pharmacological Society, the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine and Health Education England have come together to form the Clinical Pharmacology Skills Alliance to develop a long-term, cross-sector action plan for clinical pharmacology. These skills are of strategic importance as the UK prepares to deliver a sector deal for the life sciences.
The clinical pharmacology skills shortage represents a significant threat to the maintenance of effective clinical service within the NHS and limits the attractiveness of the UK as a place to conduct national and international clinical research. Investing in clinical pharmacology presents an opportunity to support the delivery of a UK industrial strategy and to contribute to patient care and safety including the efficient deployment of limited resources within the NHS.
The Clinical Pharmacology Skills Alliance will develop creative solutions for growing the clinical pharmacology skills pipeline and the delivery of key competencies in line with priorities across the healthcare and life sciences sectors. The Alliance aims:

  1. To understand the demand for clinical pharmacology skills and associated career pathways
  2. To drive high awareness of clinical pharmacology in the potential talent pool
  3. To deliver a high quality and streamlined training experience
  4. To be the stewards of clinical pharmacology, now and into the future
Dr Sheuli Porkess, Interim Executive Director, Research, Medical & Innovation, ABPI said:
“The skills shortage in clinical pharmacology has been a persistent theme in the bi-annual ABPI skills survey. We are very pleased to be part of the Clinical Pharmacology Skills Alliance which will provide solutions in order to attract, train and retain the clinical pharmacologists of the future.”
Andrew Foxley, Chair of the Experimental Medicine Expert Network of the ABPI said:
“Clinical pharmacology clinicians and scientists are key contributors throughout the development of new medicines, and are responsible for designing and running the clinical trials that will be a key component in achieving a successful UK life sciences strategy. The Clinical Pharmacology Skills Alliance brings together the right organisations with the expertise to tackle this pressing skills challenge across the broad spectrum of the skills pipeline.”
Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed, Vice-President (Clinical) of the British Pharmacological Society said:
“Clinical pharmacologists have expertise across the whole research spectrum from early phase trials to applied research. They are experts in translational approaches to developing new drugs, improving the use of existing drugs, and contribute widely to the safe, effective and efficient use of medicines in the wider NHS – including health technology assessment and regulation. We need to invest in this specialty, and to ensure that clinical pharmacology expertise is accessible across the NHS.”
Professor David Webb, President of the British Pharmacological Society said:
“The formation of the Clinical Pharmacology Skills Alliance – and the partnerships we will need to create with other healthcare professionals – is a crucial step towards building UK clinical pharmacology, realising its potential and adding value to an essential service within the NHS and Industry.”
Professor Alan Boyd, President of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine said:
‘’Skills and resources in clinical pharmacology are an absolute requirement for the research and development of new medicinal products and their approval for licensing by the regulatory authorities. Over the last twenty years or so, the specialty of clinical pharmacology has declined across the UK and this is now having a significant impact on our ability to develop medicines. This critical situation must be addressed urgently and the establishment of the Clinical Pharmacology Skills Alliance, should be able to facilitate the reversal of this decline.’’

Professor Wendy Reid, Health Education England's Director of Education and Quality said:
"Health Education England’s primary purpose is to ensure that the workforce of today and tomorrow has the right numbers, skills, values and behaviours, at the right time and in the right place. We recognise the important contribution that the Clinical Pharmacology workforce make to the NHS and the delivery of the Life Sciences agenda. We are delighted to be working in conjunction with our partners in the Clinical Pharmacology Alliance to support the development of the Clinical Pharmacology workforce."

Published: 12 Dec 2017 in Society news