I was both shocked and saddened to learn this week that Robert Clayton had died.
We first met at a Travenol conference in York in 1982 and shortly afterwards we were both appointed district pharmaceutical officers in neighbouring health authorities in north London; he in Enfield and Haringey and I in Barnet. As a consequence, our professional lives became intertwined thereafter. In the 1990s, we both became involved in the development of pharmaceutical and prescribing advice in primary care, and were among the first pharmacists to be appointed to that role in the NHS. Robert was eventually appointed the regional pharmaceutical lead in primary care for London. I, in turn, combined my role in Barnet with that in Enfield and Haringey.
Robert then moved to the Practice Division of the then Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britian (RPSGB), where he was eventually appointed head of the Division. We both retired during 2007, and for a short while we worked together in a job share at the RPSGB. Following Robert’s retirement, I took on the role of secretary of the Commonwealth Pharmacists’ Association. This was a role that Robert would have assumed had it not been for health problems, and to which he would have been ideally suited for.
Another occasion when our lives followed similar directions was in January 2006, when we became among the first pharmacists to enter into civil partnership with our respective partners; both events, by coincidence, occurred on the same day! Outside pharmacy Robert enjoyed extensive travel overseas. He also had an interest in horse racing, and hospitality at his apartment in central London was legendary — particularly on Grand National Day.
I would judge his strengths to be in the areas of professional leadership and interpersonal skills, and his appointment as a Fellow of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in 2008 was well deserved. In retirement, he moved to Romney Marsh and more recently to west Sussex. Sadly, his retirement years were dogged at times by ill health and our thoughts and condolences are with David, his partner of over 30 years. In his passing, pharmacy has lost one of its more colourful and memorable characters.
Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2018.20205923
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