It is both an honour and a privilege to be elected to serve as Master Apothecary for the year 2019-20. The preceding two to three years have been a time of great activity in the Society, and have included a review of our long-term future strategy, with active engagement of members of the Court at two dedicated planning days. I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate my two predecessors Charles Mackworth-Young and Martin Rossor (my mentors on the Private Court) who have worked indefatigably to move the Society forward, but at the same time always remain cognisant of our history and heritage.
In short, we have undertaken a forensic examination of the way we work, including: an expert external review of our governance; a comprehensive examination of our activities, particularly our academic offer, again with external advice; and considered our membership to ensure that we continue to work towards making it as representative of the medical and pharmacy professions in the UK as possible. The Court has recently approved a modified approach to recruiting new Assistants from the livery, which we hope will make it easier and more attractive to take on a leadership role in the Society at an earlier stage in a professional career and to ensure that we continue to pursue our current trajectory of increased diversity in the Society’s leadership.
Maintaining ancient and treasured buildings is no easy task. The Clerk is leading a long-term maintenance initiative, with the support of our professional advisers, which will ensure that necessary repairs and planned maintenance are conducted in a timely manner. During the latter part of this year, we will reconfigure some of our precious space to co-locate the registry alongside the other elements of the Society’s administrative team. We believe this will facilitate a closer and better-integrated approach to the running of the Society.
As you would expect, the Society will be sponsoring a spectacular array of academic and social events during the coming year, which will include an increasing emphasis on one of our most important activities, philanthropy. The Court is unanimous in its wish to enhance our philanthropic contributions over the coming years and I invite you all to join us in this worthy initiative, particularly in these challenging times of increasing polarity in wealth.
May I wish you all a happy, healthy and a productive year.