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Clinical Pharmacology - a specialty welcoming applications

Course/Event Date: Monday, January 1, 0001

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Course/Event Description

Dear IM3 trainees

Clinical Pharmacology - a specialty welcoming applications

As applications for higher specialty training open today we invite you to consider applying to our specialty of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics (CPT). As we are a small specialty you may not have been exposed to CPT as a career option so we hope this email will tell you a little bit about it and provide information and contacts for further information if you would like to explore further.

What do clinical pharmacologists do?

If you like a job with interest and variety that is a mixture of fast-paced clinical practice and slower-paced ‘thinking time’ then this could be for you. For example, in the COVID pandemic clinical pharmacologists have been working in acute and general medicine caring for patients with COVID. But they have also have been working on designing and delivering clinical trials of vaccines and new medicines, working with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory agency (MHRA) to approve new treatments, and working regionally and locally to ensure new treatments are rolled out rapidly into the NHS. Outside COVID, we are contributing to exciting developments across the NHS, implementing pharmacogenomics and developing new ways of tackling polypharmacy. Clinical Pharmacologists deliver a lot of teaching and, as a specialty, lead the national Prescribing Safety Assessment.

Training curriculum and national opportunities

As a trainee, the ‘capabilities in practice’ in our 2022 curriculum (listed below) will ensure that you develop all the skills required for a CCT in Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics with General Internal Medicine, but also provide sufficient flexibility for you to develop your own portfolio of interests and skills. As a small (but growing) specialty, we are extremely well supported by our national society, the British Pharmacological Society, which coordinates (and funds) national StR training online monthly and face-to-face 2-3 times per year. We are very well networked as a specialty and this brings with it so many supported opportunities to contribute nationally in areas such as policy and education right from the beginning of your training.

CPT capabilities in practice

  1. Performing the clinical assessment, investigation and management of adverse drug reactions, medication errors and overdose at an individual and (where relevant) population level
  2. Providing specialist management of patients with complex prescribing needs, including multimorbidity, polypharmacy, adherence issues and medication intolerance 
  3. Providing analysis and expert opinion on pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic and pharmacogenomic factors to guide therapeutic decisions
  4. Providing evidence-based practice and contributing to the evidence base in a therapeutic area of interest
  5. Advising on the cost effective, safe and rational use of medicines on a population level
  6. Delivering effective education in clinical pharmacology, therapeutics and prescribing to promote safe and effective use of medicines across the whole workforce
  7. Providing expertise in the design and delivery of experimental medicine, and other types of clinical pharmacology & therapeutic research, including preclinical and clinical studies

Where are the posts?

In 2022 there will be up to 7 posts in London, 0-2 in Scotland and 0-1 in each of East of England, North West and West Midlands.

In London, trainees appointed in 2022 will rotate through different clinical pharmacology training centres, each of which provides general training to help you achieve your capabilities in practice. Specialty work in all centres will include management of patients with relevant conditions including adverse drug reactions, overdose, medication errors, polypharmacy; contribution to medicines ‘management’ through membership of formulary committees, writing guidelines and protocols, audit and QI projects; teaching of undergraduates and postgraduates.

Each centre offers ‘sub-specialty’ opportunities in particular aspects of clinical pharmacology and different ‘therapeutic areas of interest’. Headlines include:

  • St George’s Hospital – Polypharmacy, pharmacokinetics, pharmacogenomics, maternal medicine, acute and intensive care medicine, potential to do a PGCert in education
  • University College Hospital – Adverse drug reactions, polypharmacy, pharmacogenomics, data sciences and laboratory work, therapeutics of epilepsy
  • Guys and St Thomas – Toxicology, clinical trials – particularly early phase, cardiovascular medicine, experimental medicine
  • St Mary’s/Hammersmith and Chelsea and Westminster – Clinical trials – including early phase, experimental medicine, infectious diseases and HIV
  • Barts and the London – Pharmacoepidemology, cardiovascular medicine, clinical trials

Would you like to find out more?

Please get in touch with us. We are:

Emma Baker – I have been a clinical pharmacology consultant at St George’s Hospital in London since 2000 and have loved pretty much every minute of it! I can tell you generally about training in clinical pharmacology and therapeutics (new curriculum, job opportunities etc) and more specifically about training in London as I am the current training programme director. Email me on ebaker@sgul.ac.uk with your questions or to make time to speak

Andrew Scourfield – I am a clinical pharmacology consultant at University College London Hospital. I have been a consultant for just over a year and what an exciting time for a career in therapeutics! Aside from the COVID-19 pandemic, we are facing an ageing population with complex comorbidities, rising drug costs and an annual NHS spend of more than £20 billion on medicines! I can tell you how training in clinical pharmacology and therapeutics will teach you the skills to make a real contribution to the NHS through the safe, effective and efficient use of medicines. Please get in touch andrew.scourfield@nhs.net

Chris Threapleton – I am a registrar (ST5) in clinical pharmacology and general internal medicine at St George’s Hospital in London.  I was drawn in initially because of the exciting opportunities for teaching and stayed because of the fascinating clinical and research work.  I never considered myself to be a particularly ‘academic’ doctor, but with plenty of support I have developed my research skills and I am now undertaking a PhD to explore how best to manage patients with complex polypharmacy.  As the chair of the national registrar sub-committee of the BPS, I know all the UK CPT trainees well and would be happy to answer any questions about working in clinical pharmacology as a registrar.  I am available at cthreapl@sgul.ac.uk

Please also follow the links below to find out more about the life of a clinical pharmacologist from people who work in our NHS specialty and more widely in clinical pharmacology

Faces of Clinical Pharmacology  

Andrew Scourfield case study

Recovery Sir Martin Landray

Pharmacology Exposed- Dr Catriona Waitt

Andrew Hitchings

Anna Stewart

Chris Threapleton

Reecha and James Fullerton

Other links that may be of interest

Careers information about a career in Clinical Pharmacology 

National Virtual Training

Clinical pharmacology & therapeutics | ST3 Recruitment - Full, comprehensive guidance on applying to ST3 posts (phstrecruitment.org.uk)

We hope to hear from you

Good luck in your applications

Professor Emma Baker, ‘Old’ Consultant in Clinical Pharmacology, Chair of the Clinical Committee of the British Pharmacological Society, Training Programme Director for London

Dr Andrew Scourfield, ‘New’ Consultant in Clinical Pharmacology, Member of the Clinical Committee of the British Pharmacological Society, Deputy Training Programme Director for London

Dr Chris Threapleton, Specialist trainee in Clinical Pharmacology, Chair of the Specialist Registrar Committee of the British Pharmacological Society


Course/Event Venue:

This course is targeted at the following specialty Groupings:

  • Medicine

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