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Your Society

Published: 28 Apr 2017
Category: Your Society
By Jono Bruun

In recent months British Pharmacological Society members have been encouraging us to do more to protect and promote pharmacology – whether in academic, industrial or clinical settings – and to communicate where we have real impact.

Against that backdrop, this section of Pharmacology Matters will let you know of some of the work that the Society has been doing to advocate our discipline.

First, I’d like to highlight that we have responded to concerns around gaps in vivo and clinical pharmacology skills, by launching two important reports that are already shaping our relationships with stakeholder organisations and policy makers:
  • The Future of In Vivo Education & Training report highlighted the value and impact created by the Society’s stewardship of the £22 million Integrative Pharmacology Fund over 14 years. On the back of this report, we have begun the process of working with other organisations in the wider in vivo science community to deliver on the 10 recommendations contained in that report.
  • The PricewaterhouseCoopers report, Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics: The case for savings in the NHS, which was commissioned by the Society and published at the end of 2016, highlighted six key benefits in training and recruiting additional CPT specialists, and estimates cost savings of £62 million per year to the NHS. The report prompted a House of Lords debate on the value of CPT to the NHS, and will underpin further work in this area in 2017.
These reports have been supplemented by other policy activity, including our responses to the STEM Skills Gap inquiry, and our ongoing provision of evidence and comment to policy-makers on Britain’s decision to exit the EU, notably, around our work on medicines regulation.

There is plenty more to come here, and I look forward to updating you on our responses to consultations on the Research Excellence Framework, publication ethics and medicines pricing in due course, alongside our ongoing engagement with the Office of Life Sciences and other key stakeholders as we seek to advocate for pharmacology against the backdrop of Brexit and the government’s new Industrial Strategy – watch this space!

So, how has this work come about? In my view, it is due to the continued support of our membership, which exceeded 4,000 at the end of 2016, working in partnership with an enthusiastic and capable office team at the Schild Plot to ensure our policy work is increasingly focused on areas where we can have significant impact.

To increase our activities in these areas, and across the Society, and to underpin our activities with excellent administrative support, Council has chosen to grow the office team to 21 by the end of April 2017. Each appointment has been driven by our desire to build on recent successes and maps to our long-term strategic priorities. I hope you will have a chance to be in touch and say hello to these new faces in the coming weeks, if you have not done so already.

We also try where possible to support and develop our existing staff. Peter Wright, who has been with us on a contract basis for a while, has been appointed to the new permanent role of Platform Manager, in order to support the delivery of the Prescribing Safety to Assessment to approximately 8,000 UK medical students each year and to help us deliver the PSA to new international markets. In addition, I mentioned in the last issue that Susanne Schweda had been appointed to Interim Head of Meetings & Events and I’m pleased that this promotion has been made permanent, so she will continue to lead our expanding calendar of scientific conferences. Well done to both Pete and Susi!

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About the author

Jono joined the Society in 2009 as Head and then Director of Communications. He became CEO in June 2012 and is responsible for delivering the Society’s five-year strategic plan across seven main areas of development, including its plan to diversify revenue. As CEO, Jono has overall responsibility for strategic and financial management, business development, human resources, policy development, governance and the oversight of projects that are designed to support the UK and international pharmacology community.