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Tribute to Peter Noyce

It is with great sadness that we hear of the untimely death of our friend and mentor Peter Noyce. We first had the opportunity to work with Peter as PhD students at the end of the 1990s within the relatively new Drug Usage and Pharmacy Practice Group at the University of Manchester, to which he had been appointed as their first professor of pharmacy practice in 1991. We have since enjoyed many years of both his critical challenge (always getting us to rethink or consider things from a different perspective) as well as his warm friendship and good counsel. We share this hugely positive experience with a sizeable cohort of researchers, clinicians and policymakers within pharmacy and healthcare today – both in the UK and beyond.

Peter was extremely knowledgeable and accomplished in many key areas of pharmacy practice – education and training, consumers and self-care, and professional governance to name only a few. He was also open to new endeavours, and when we, for example, presented research proposals to him to explore nurses’ administration of medicines and online health information-seeking in adolescence, he supported our curiosity and embraced the opportunity to look at pharmacy practice in its wider context of health and healthcare.

Peter was adept at exposing the ‘uncomfortable truth’; for us, as PhD students, that revelation would correct a sloppy discussion based on overstretched data, or an assertion based on flimsy evidence from the literature. For the Drug Usage and Pharmacy Practice Group, it meant an engagement right from the start with other disciplines, particularly the social sciences, which ensured both rigour of research as well as different viewpoints and critical challenge. We think this also reflected his lifelong aspiration for the profession to look critically at itself and improve from it, underlined by his appointment in 2007 to advise the Professional Regulation and Leadership Oversight Group from which emerged the General Pharmaceutical Council. He understood the balance of regulation and facilitation — in his retirement, Peter became a trustee of Pharmacist Support, and its chair from 2014, overseeing the introduction of new services and the launch of a new fundraising strategy.

Peter’s aim in making us look critically at ourselves and our work was always to improve us, to banish lazy thinking and complacency, and ultimately to enjoy seeing us achieve our best. He was totally committed to the advancement of pharmacy – to his profession fulfilling its potential and making its best possible contribution to patient care. As pharmacy negotiates another tricky stage in its evolution, those of us who have been taught and guided by Peter Noyce must help the profession again to face its ‘uncomfortable truths’, and then make it all the stronger and better for it.

We send our love and best wishes to his wife Sue, his children Alastair and Rosie, and the wider family.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2017.20202924

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