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Tribute to David Michael Stead

Friends and former colleagues have been greatly saddened and shocked at the untimely death of David Stead, some two weeks after major cardiac surgery. David was a highly regarded, respected pharmacist and colleague to many in the NHS and the pharmaceutical industry.

David was a graduate of the London School of Pharmacy (1971) and had a long and distinguished career in hospital pharmacy practice commencing in Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and then in East Dorset at Poole and Bournemouth as chief pharmacist. His disposition was always relaxed, friendly and understated yet he was a keen moderniser and an innovative pharmacist.

In 2005, when he was chief pharmacist at the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch hospitals, he was one of the first pharmacists to embrace information technology by introducing a computerised dispensing system and, while others contemplated centralised intravenous additive and cytotoxic reconstitution services, David had already introduced them into practice. He was instrumental in creating one of the first joint hospital and community formularies.

His creativity reached out beyond pharmacy. His bed-race team, artwork depicting Disney characters on the hospital windows, and legendary Christmas punch were all hallmarks of a mischievous and fun-loving character. He loved sport and regularly played hockey and cricket as a young man.

David was passionate about medicines procurement and collaborating with the pharmaceutical industry to secure cost-effective and high-quality medicines. In 2006 he was appointed medicines specialist procurement pharmacist for the South West Region until his retirement in 2014. In this role he extended his reach from Hampshire to Cornwall. At national level he chaired the pharmaceutical market support group and was author of the ‘Best Practice Standards for managing Medicines Shortages in Secondary Care in England’. In his retirement he continued as a Great Britain representative on the management committee of the European medicines shortages research network, addressing supply problems to patients and co-chairing a working group on provision and procurement disruption.

David had enormous energy and vitality, directing his immense talents in the service of others. For eighteen years he was a magistrate on the Poole and Dorset Bench serving as chair of the criminal and juvenile courts. He is remembered fondly as an active member of his church, over many years serving as leader of the parish and pastoral council, pastoral area chair, catechist, reader and minister of communion. He was also an enthusiastic member of the choir and an inveterate organiser of, and participant in, parish social events.

David was a dedicated family man, fun loving and compassionate. He was a responsible and professional pharmacist who many will miss but remember with great fondness. It was a privilege to know him and call him a friend.

Our thoughts are with his wife Vicky, son James, daughter Caroline and grandson George.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2017.20202353

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