Like many people, I’m still in shock about the untimely loss of Celia Feetam from pancreatic cancer. Trying to imagine the mental health and pharmacy professions without Celia is enormously difficult as her influence spread far and wide.
Celia first came to prominence within the UK Psychiatric Pharmacy Group (UKPPG) as “the posh lady from Birmingham” who knew about constitutions and how meetings should run. And none of us could spell her name right either — ‘Feetham’ seemed the most common mis-spelling. She was chief pharmacist for the Rubery Hill group of hospitals in Birmingham but later moved to the Woodbourne Clinic, also in Birmingham. She joined the UKPPG committee and once offered to put me up the night before a committee meeting in Birmingham but, at short notice, was unable to so sorted me out a room at the hospital. It was only when I arrived that I realised it was an unlocked room on their acute psychiatric ward!
After a stint as treasurer of the UK Psychiatric Pharmacy Group (UKPPG) committee, between 1999 and 2000, Celia agreed to be my vice chair: a role she held from 2001 to 2003. She was always on hand with sensible, insightful and pragmatic advice, always tactfully pointing me in the right direction. When she acceded to chair, she had a distinguished time as the College of Mental Health Pharmacy (CMHP) started to take shape. In 2001, she was awarded the CMHP ‘Award for Lifetime Achievement’.
At a UKPPG AGM, fellow committee member Lynn Haygarth suggested the radical idea of setting up a specific postgraduate qualification for mental health. We all had a good laugh and thought that it would probably only last a couple of years at best — how wrong we were. After some hosting problems, Celia suggested we moved it from De Montfort University to Aston University and the rest, as they say, is history. From 1998 onwards, Celia developed the Certificate and Diploma in Psychiatric Pharmacy to a very high standard and the student numbers have continued to increase. I was able to experience first hand the dedication, thought and support Celia gave to all her students during my years as external examiner at the university. She also started the highly popular, influential and enduring Psychiatry 1 and 2 residential training courses.
Celia authored or co-authored numerous papers in a wide range of journals, was on the first National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines on anxiety disorders panel. She also did some volunteer work in Romania.
After retiring from Aston University, Celia moved to Buckinghamshire and a mixture of interesting freelance roles, including managing the editions of the Guidance on the Administration to Adults of Oil-based Depot and other Long-acting Intramuscular Antipsychotic Injections, chairing and directing the Janssen Annual Senior Pharmacists Academy and independent project work. Outside work she loved horse riding, skiing and tennis.
There will be an enormous number of people in pharmacy, mental health pharmacy, academia and life mourning her loss.