Finding a VOICE for UK clinical pharmacology.
At a James Black Conference held in Oxford on 20-22 June 2011, a group of senior clinical pharmacologists and their junior colleagues, other medical specialists, and pharmacists discussed an agenda for UK clinical pharmacology for the next 5 years, addressing the following broad questions. How should UK clinical pharmacology be further developed and delivered as a discipline in universities, the NHS, pharmaceutical companies, and regulatory authorities? How should teaching and training in UK clinical pharmacology and therapeutics be delivered and assessed? What topics should be priorities for research in UK academic clinical pharmacology? How should clinical pharmacology contribute to UK drugs policy? How should pharmacology and clinical pharmacology be further integrated, to the benefit of both? Numerous recommendations emerged, under the collective acronym VOICE, standing for Visibility, Outreach, Integration, Coverage and Emissaries. VISIBILITY: The visibility of the discipline needs to be increased. This could be done, for example, by increased activities in acute general medicine/toxicology, through activities of Medicines and Therapeutics Committees, participation in grand rounds, teaching and training, and monitoring therapeutic interventions, and by offering bolt-on training for other specialists (for example, short courses, MSc courses, and training programmes). OUTREACH: Methods of increasing outreach include roadshows in schools/medical schools, national special study modules, public education, press coverage, and social marketing. INTEGRATION: Closer collaborations with pharmacologists, clinical pharmacists, other prescribers, and pharmaceutical companies (e.g. through joint training programmes) are desirable. COVERAGE: Attention to neglected areas, such as general practice, paediatrics, obstetrics, geriatrics, anaesthetics, cancer, and immunology. EMISSARIES: Trainees to spread the word.