A complete medical check-up

March 19, 1999

We represent the majority of the teaching teams for degree courses in biomedical sciences, biochemistry and microbiology within the school of biomolecular sciences at Liverpool John Moores University. We refute your claims that the teaching of human physiology to our students is "incorrect", "inadequate" and "outmoded".

These claims are based almost solely on a single practical schedule no longer extant and a debate as to whether respiration is controlled by the autonomic (involuntary) or voluntary nervous systems.

The essence of this debate revolves around the interpretation of the word "control" and is too involved to go into here. The module in which this material appears was first challenged within LJMU in late 1996 and has since been reviewed at boards of study (joint meetings between staff and students) and by an internal review panel. Also, we have asked two external examiners to our degree courses to review the practical schedule, and neither has commented adversely on the hand-out.

Teaching is not divorced from research at LJMU. Virtually all staff from our school are involved in research, and more than 60 per cent featured in submission to the last research assessment exercise.

The academic quality of all degree courses from the school is scrutinised as part of the university's quinquennial review system. In addition, the biomedical sciences degree is validated externally by both the Institute of Biomedical Sciences and the Council for the Professions Supplementary to Medicine. The very same physiology modules were scrutinised at our last validation in May 1997, which resulted in unconditional approval.

Teaching staff (David Billington, Gordon Lowe, Derek Gadsdon, Katherine Zuzel, Amanda Reid, Colin Reynolds, Steve Crosby, David Phipps, Frank Manning, Khalid Rahman, P. Gadsdon, Venetia Saunders, Glyn Hobbs, Anne Humphreys, Arthur Mason, Anthony Whalley, George Sharples, Yemi Olabiran, Hilary Evans) School of biomolecular sciences Liverpool John Moores University

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