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History of the UK Radiopharmacy Group

The origins of the UK Radiopharmacy Group date from 1976 and an initiative by a small group of practising Radiopharmacists to work together for the advancement of Radiopharmacy. The Group comprised Malcolm Frier (Nottingham) Stuart Hesslewood (Birmingham), Penny Hill (Bristol), Colin Lazarus (London), Bill Little (Liverpool), and Teresa McCarthy (Cambridge). At the inaugural meeting, in Cambridge on 26 January 1977, a set of proposals was formulated and sent to Regional Pharmaceutical Officers, as a result of which the Regional Radiopharmacists Subcommittee was formed.

Membership of the Subcommittee was steadily extended to include representatives of each Regional Health Authority in England, plus individuals from Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, academia, and latterly the Medicines Control Agency. Teresa McCarthy was elected chairman of the Group, which continued to meet quarterly. One of the first tasks of the Group was to examine the required facilities for the hospital preparation of radiopharmaceuticals. A report on the subject was sent to the Regional Officers and resulted in the circulation in October 1982 of a Chief Pharmacist's Letter to all health authorities entitled "Guidance Notes for Hospitals on the Premises and Environment for the Preparation of Radiopharmaceuticals". The radiolabelling of blood cells was approached in a similar way. An examination of quality assurance procedures led to the publication in 1980 of a special issue of Nuclear Medicine Communications entitled "Quality Assurance of Radiopharmaceuticals - a Guide to Hospital Practice". The British Nuclear Medicine Society provided enormous support during these early years to the extent that Radiopharmacy was the first non-clinical specialist sub-group to be formed with Radiopharmacists being accepted as full members of the society.

The subcommittee continued to meet and present reports of its activities to the Regional Officers until 1994. The imminent regional reorganisation of the NHS at this time prompted the Subcommittee to consider its future as a stand-alone advisory group on Radiopharmacy. An operational plan was drawn up and presented to the final meeting of the Regional Pharmaceutical Officers on 15 February 1995 and thus the UK Radiopharmacy Group came into being.