The above song is what came to mind when I opened my Pharmaceutical Journal (PJ, 6th November 2010) only to see the advert by the University and College Union about the proposed plan to merge the School of Pharmacy, University of London with the University College London (UCL). The need to preserve the 168-years of heritage of the School of Pharmacy hit me like a bolt. Whilst heritage is important, there is something more fundamental at stake here – Radical independent thinking in pharmaceutical research. In 2003, I obtained a Diploma in Pharmacy Practice at the School of Pharmacy, University of London (see image) – after a number of unsuccessful attempts. This was a pivotal time in my development as a pharmacist. On reflection, I can trace a significant part of what will later happen to me to this time. I am currently writing about it but I feel I needed to add my voice to this important campaign. We need a radical, fiercely independent and confident School of Pharmacy which can think the unthinkable. Some of the confidence I now show in my practice, emanated partly, from that imparted on me by the fiercely independent teaching staff. I remember the confidence and swagger with which Professor Soraya Dhillon MBE (then Dr Dhillon) – link– delivered her clinical pharmacokinetics lectures at the School. I am now convinced that a good understanding of clinical pharmacokinetics is pivotal to delivering excellent pharmaceutical care. As long as the School of Pharmacy continues to understand its unique role and continues to develop and nurture radical thinkers, then I see no reason why the powers that be should not let it be.
I beg the decision makers to let the School of Pharmacy be. Let it be, Let it be; Whisper words of wisdom, Let it be. I hope rational thought will prevail else we risk throwing the baby out with the bath water at the very time when we should be thinking of radical ways out of the current economic crisis. You must let pharmaceutical research play its part and the track record of the School of Pharmacy is self evident.
NB: The website coordinating this campaign is www.savingourschool.org : Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a your personal link to the ballot.
Ballot closes midnight on Friday 12 November 2010
Kazeem Olalekan MRPharmS