Clinical Pharmacology

Why specialise in Clinical Pharmacology?

Christchurch is the leading site for Training in Clinical Pharmacology in New Zealand. Clinical Pharmacology is a medical specialty that involves all aspects of medicines use. Drugs are the main therapeutic tools of physicians and using medicines effectively is a core skill for all physicians. Formal training in clinical pharmacology encompasses all aspects of safe, effective and rational use of medicines at individual, group and population levels.

Clinical pharmacologists work toward rational, evidence-based, cost-effective use of drugs in four domains:

  1. Clinical medicine: clinical consultation, clinical decision support, therapeutic drug monitoring, clinical toxicology.
  2. Policy and governance: including medicines regulation, serving on national and local committees
  3. Research: both within the discipline and in supporting and advising other disciplines on research related to medicines
  4. Education: undergraduate and post-graduate.

Advanced Training in Clinical Pharmacology is well suited to dual training. Research is integral to the discipline and a research degree is supported as part of Advanced Training in Clinical Pharmacology. 

Career prospects

There are currently shortages of Clinical Pharmacologists worldwide, including Australia and NZ. Appointments are often joint appointments to Hospital and University. Clinical Pharmacologists are employed by other organisations such as Government and the pharmaceutical industry.

Medical kaimahi (staff) in our service

The service has three clinical pharmacologists: A/Prof Matt Doogue, Dr Paul Chin and Prof Murray Barclay and up to two registrars.

All about our service

We are a multi-disciplinary department providing tertiary medical services. CDHB services include Medicines Information, Medicines Utilisation, Clinical Decision Support, Therapeutic Drug Monitoring and Clinical Consultation. We are responsible for a range of clinical resources for clinicians and patients. Staff have lead roles in medicines governance is overseen by the Medicines and Therapeutics committee and implemented by subcommittees and working groups. Currently, the implementation and ongoing development of the electronic medicines systems is a major focus of the department.

Within the University we coordinate and teach Clinical Pharmacology, mainly to 5th and 6th-year medical students. Staff are encouraged to undertake higher degrees (Masters, PhDs). The department is research active in several high-quality research collaborations.

The registrar participates in all department activities and the role is tailored to the needs of individual trainees.

Training in our service

The department is accredited for full-time core training in Clinical Pharmacology. Trainee activities are directly aligned to the RACP curriculum. There are educational, research and productivity-related meetings each week, in which all staff actively participate.


Research is a high priority of the department, through our University alignment. It is focused on improving prescribing through drug and dose-individualisation. Particular areas of interest include adverse drug reactions, antibiotic dosing and clinical decision support. The Department produces an average of 10-15 publications per year. Registrars are expected to complete at least one research project per training year and are supported to present their research projects at national and international conferences and to publish in international journals.

SMO / Kaimahi (staff) support

Our registrars have their own workspaces and work closely with the SMOs. The position is training focused and registrars are encouraged and supported to attend Australasian training meetings as well as use local training opportunities. Trainee initiatives are supported and encouraged.

Advantages to training in Clinical Pharmacology, at Canterbury District Health Board

We are one of the leading Clinical Pharmacology Centres in Australasia.


Dr Murray Barclay
Director of Training

Dr Matt Doogue
Clinical Director
Phone: +64 22 406 3735

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