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Retirement of Gary Flather as chairman

Statutory Committee

The chairman of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s Statutory Committee, Mr Gary Flather, OBE, QC, has retired from the committee after completing two five-year terms of office.

To mark his retirement, a special lunch was held on January 18, the date of the last hearing under his chairmanship. The lunch was attended by current and former members of the committee and members of the Society’s staff who work, or have worked, with the committee.

In an address after the lunch, Mr Bryan Kirkwood (the longest serving committee member) said that Mr Flather was admired and respected by his colleagues on the committee, which had been vitalised by his rich blend of experience. He had been a reforming chairman, persistent in pursuit of enlightened change and challenging existing structures and procedures.

Mr Flather possessed an indomitable spirit. He had confronted the substantial disability of his multiple sclerosis in an open and honest manner, with a force of character and a resilience that were inspirational. It had been a special privilege to join him in February, 1999, to celebrate his appointment as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for his service to the disabled - particularly in his own profession.

Mr Kirkwood said that for 10 years the committee had benefited from a veritable pharmacopoeia of legal wisdom, forensic skills and a judicial presence that, but for the constraints of his physical disability, would be enhancing the Queens’ Bench. On behalf of the committee, Mr Kirkwood then presented Mr Flather with the gift of a crystal claret jug.

A presentation was also made by the Society’s Vice-President (Mr Marshall Davies), who thanked Mr Flather for his service on the committee and presented him with a reproduction drug jar as a gift from the Society.

Thanking the Society and the committee for his gifts, Mr Flather said that his work as chairman had given him a respect for the Society and for the “good and honourable” profession of pharmacy. He added that he was proud that during his chairmanship no appeal against a Statutory Committee decision had been successful. He was also pleased that he had never missed a hearing because of his multiple sclerosis.

The Journal understands that it could be some time before a successor to Mr Flather is in post. The Statutory Committee chairman is appointed by the Privy Council, to which Government Ministers put forward suitable names. Although the succession has been under consideration for several months, the Government has recently decided that the post should be advertised, in the interest of openness and best practice. As a result, meetings of the committee arranged for February and March have had to be cancelled and the future schedule of meetings has been put on hold. Although Mr Flather had managed to reduce the number of pending inquiries to the lowest level in many years, a backlog of cases is now likely to build up.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 20000353

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