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Tribute to Peter Noyce

We are writing as the UK chief pharmaceutical officers who act on behalf of government and the NHS. It was with great sadness that we learnt of the untimely death of Peter Noyce. Peter was the most effective pharmacist leader of his generation. He had a major impact on the NHS and health policy, as well as making a major contribution to both pharmacy education and to the evidence base for pharmacy practice.

Peter was a member of the Nuffield Inquiry into pharmacy, published in 1986. This important document was ahead of its time and is still quoted today as setting out a clinical vision for both community and hospital pharmacy practice. It is no surprise then that it was Peter who, as deputy chief pharmaceutical officer at the Department of Health, set out the vision for clinical pharmacy in hospital practice through the landmark Health Circular 88(54) ‘The Way Forward for Hospital Pharmaceutical Services’. Around the same time, Peter led the development of the Department of Health research training scheme — the Pharmacy Practice Research Enterprise Scheme — which provided grants for pharmacists to take their first steps in health services research, some of whom are still publishing and supervising students today.

His authority and knowledge was drawn on by other governments, such as when he reviewed the provision of pharmacy education in New Zealand in 1987. Peter also worked closely with the then chief and deputy chief pharmaceutical officer in Scotland on the establishment of the Scottish Post Qualification Education Board (PQEB) for Scotland, the predecessor to NHS Education for Scotland (NES). PQEB significantly influenced the training of pharmacists in Scotland and helped underpin the approach to pharmaceutical care.

In pharmacy education at the University of Manchester, he established and oversaw for many years the Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education, through which many pharmacists have developed their clinical skills as the pharmacy workforce became even more clinically orientated. He established the Centre for Pharmacy Workforce Studies whose output was often the foundation of pharmacy professional regulation. All of this was typical of Peter’s ability to think strategically, working out what was going to be required by patients and the NHS from the pharmacy workforce.

In research, many of today’s leading pharmacy practice academics and leaders have passed through Peter’s hands or have been very significantly influenced by him. The drug usage and practice research group he established became one of the most influential at national and international level, publishing important work on pharmacoepidemiology and drug safety, prescribing and patient safety, pharmacy workforce, and service evaluation.

He was a government advisor on many occasions. Examples include as professional advisor the Pharmacy Regulation and Leadership Oversight Group, which was responsible for the establishment of the General Pharmaceutical Council, and as a medicines commissioner for the Commission on Human Medicines, which oversees the licensing and safety of all medicines in the UK.

On a more personal level, Peter was a mentor to many (including one of us – KR), guiding them in their careers or helping them through difficult issues. He was rightly made a CBE in 2008 for his services to healthcare, having already been made a Fellow of RPSGB in 1994, and been awarded the Charter Gold Medal of the RPSGB in 2002.

In summary, Peter was both a great pharmacist and a great individual, who made a major contribution to the pharmacy profession, health policy and patient care. He will be sorely missed by many. Our sincere and heart-felt condolences go to his wife Sue, and his children Alistair and Rosie.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2017.20202973

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