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Tribute to Michele Stewart Caldwell

The loss of a good friend and colleague is always a sad occasion. It is tragic however when the person concerned is at the peak of their professional career, innovative, vibrant, full of drive and has made a major contribution to her profession and patient care.

Michele Caldwell (known as Mrs C to her colleagues!) graduated from pharmacy at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow in 1979, followed quickly by a masters in clinical pharmacy in 1982. Michele undertook significant continued professional and leadership development throughout her professional career and was an active member of an extensive range of committees across Scotland.

Michele spent the initial part of her career as a hospital pharmacist in Glasgow Royal Infirmary before moving to NHS Ayrshire and Arran in 1982. Within Ayrshire and Arran, Michele held various senior pharmacist positions until her appointment as director of pharmacy in 2001.

Michele was best recognised within the profession for using her extensive knowledge and expertise to influence the national approach to the safe and effective implementation of hospital electronic prescribing and medicines administration systems. Michele was an early adopter of electronic prescribing in the UK with NHS Ayrshire and Arran being the first in the NHS in Scotland to start using it. Michele was also one of the first leadership appointments as a director of pharmacy in NHS Scotland; influential in the establishment and development of the Scottish Medicines Consortium and an inaugural member. Michele was also a member of the recent Scottish Adverse Events Framework Board.

Other achievements during her 34-year career are considerable and include developing an area wide medicines information service; evaluating effective partnerships between primary and secondary care; improving services to cancer patients across the West of Scotland; and driving forward professional practice and service change by supporting both of the Scottish government’s pharmaceutical care strategies: ‘The right medicine’ in 2002 and ‘Prescription for excellence’ in 2013.

She was recognised nationally as an exceptional clinical leader in pharmacy practice but also contributed extensively to national pharmacy strategy and policy.

Michele was an inspiration to many within the pharmacy profession. She was an innovator and a mentor and provided endless support to her colleagues and peers. Above all, Michele was a strong and effective leader, driven by her determination to develop and deliver safe and high quality care to patients.

On a personal level, Michele will be sorely missed for her searching questions combined with a wicked sense of humour and mischievousness. Michele was known far and wide for her feistiness and fearlessness. Our thoughts and sympathy are with her husband David and her two beloved children and all of their friends and pharmacy colleagues for this sudden and untimely loss.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2016.20201562

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