FPM: The Early Years

Posted on: Saturday 30 November 2019
Author: Mrs Kathryn Swanston

Kathryn Swanston
Kathryn Swanston



I was thrilled to be invited to contribute to this very special publication celebrating the Faculty’s thirtieth anniversary. I stepped down as Chief Executive in October 2018 after twenty busy, but very happy and fulfilling years of work. When I joined the Faculty in April 1998 our small team of four was located at the Royal College of Physicians in the basement of St Andrews Place. The Faculty had just invested in a website and email had recently arrived. Only two of the four PCs were connected to a network or printer and we had one shared telephone. Email was not widely used and most communications with the Faculty Officers and committee members were conducted by fax but we made it work, most of the time! At that time the Faculty was approaching its tenth birthday and I was amazed to hear of all the work undertaken in the years before and after 1989 to form the charity and work towards the establishment of recognised specialty training. Without the vision and dedication of those I still consider to be the pioneers of pharmaceutical medicine would there ever have been a Faculty at all?

"Happily, I discovered pharmaceutical physicians to be the most wonderful colleagues to work alongside in that task and that is where the strength of the Faculty lies."

For me the Faculty has always been about people working together to establish and maintain standards of practice, in all the many ways that can be achieved, to safeguard and benefit the public. Setting standards is a rather neat statement and I learnt over my time at the Faculty that in practice it is a continuous and all-encompassing activity, difficult and challenging, raising many questions requiring discussion, debate and consultation. Happily, I discovered pharmaceutical physicians to be the most wonderful colleagues to work alongside in that task and that is where the strength of the Faculty lies. Pharmaceutical physicians have a unique breadth of knowledge, skills and expertise and if they continue to bring these to the table there will be no limit to what the Faculty can achieve over the next decade and beyond.

I left my post rather suddenly last year to focus on my treatment and recovery from breast cancer which I feel fortunate to say is going very well. This meant I didn’t get an opportunity to thank Faculty members for all their support during my time as Chief Executive and especially those I was privileged to work with on the Board, committees or projects. Thank you everyone it was an amazing experience that will be hard to follow. My biggest shout out must go to all my amazing staff colleagues who were such a joy to work with and who inspired me every single day. How great to see that Marcia is making an impact with her fresh ideas and expertise and I wish her every success.

It is therefore with the greatest pleasure and pride that I send congratulations and my very best wishes to the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine on its thirtieth anniversary.

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More from the Autumn 2019 Edition of the FPM Journal

Future of FPM

Laura Campbell gives us her thoughts

When Food Meets Pharma

FPM Chief Executive Marcia Philbin