Celebrating 10 years of the KHP Pharmaceutical Sciences CAG
Comms Officer Henry Lockyer spoke with Prof David Taylor to find out how the King’s Health Partners (KHP) Pharmaceutical Sciences Clinical Academic Group (PSCAG) has fostered cross-partnership collaboration to improve practice, research and education in pharmaceutical sciences.
PSCAG brings together more than 1,850 staff and students from each of the partner organisations within King’s Health Partners, drawing together all aspects of the use of medicines. This includes drug discovery through first-in-man studies, formulation technology and prescribing safety to post marketing pharmacoepidemiology (the study of the uses and effects of drugs in large numbers of people). It involves a variety of professional groups, including pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, pharmacy assistants, scientists, healthcare professionals, undergraduate and postgraduate students and administrative staff.
On 13 June, PSCAG celebrated 10 years of successfully delivering research, clinical care and education. Professor David Taylor, CAG Lead, PSCAG; Director of Pharmacy and Pathology; South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust; and Professor of Psychopharmacology, King’s College London, shares some of the CAG’s highlights over the last 10 years:
Please describe the role of Pharmaceutical Sciences CAG within King’s Health Partners.
PSCAG is, we think, the only specialist pharmaceutical science unit within any of the world's academic health science centres. The CAG covers the whole journey of a drug or medicine, from discovery through formulation and testing to clinical use and post-marketing surveillance. PSCAG members, as experts in medicines, work with other researchers and clinicians in all other CAGs to develop and test new treatments and to ensure their optimal use in practice. The PSCAG is cross-cutting across KHP CAGs in that its core business - medicines - is an important aspect of all other CAGs.
Can you pick out some highlights/key achievements from the last 10 years?
As a CAG we have published over 1000 scientific papers and at least 25 of these papers have been cited more than 100 times. 11 practising NHS clinical pharmacists in the CAG have PhDs and another seven are studying for their doctorates at King’s College London (KCL). In the Research Excellence Framework 2022, Allied Health, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy assessment group, KCL was ranked first in the UK, partly because of the contribution of PSCAG research.
Our key achievement is that we now work as a single unit, bringing together teaching, research and practice like never before. We currently have 35 formally approved clinical academics from across the partnership - NHS staff whose contributions to teaching and research is recognised by KCL.
What are your ambitions for improving outcomes for patients in south east London and beyond, and how do you see this impact growing in the future?
We are a key part of the soon-to-be-established South East London Integrated Care System (SEL ICS). We will use our influence to ensure that findings of our research and those of others are quickly incorporated into practice. We will also continue to evaluate medicines-related outcomes to inform SEL ICS’ decisions on medicines availability as the NHS moves towards a more value-based approach to medicines usage.
How has being a part of King’s Health Partners facilitated the CAG’s research and work?
Before KHP we were four separate organisations with individual and separate aims and objectives. There was almost no communication between the NHS trusts and KCL, no joint appointments, no clinical academics and no research collaboration. Now we are one organisation; one in which clinicians teach and research and in which researchers teach and practise. Our teaching is better, our practice is better and our research collaborations and outputs are better too.