Tribute: Joan Greenleaf OBE (1929–2021)

It is with the deepest sadness that the Guild Council at the Guild of Healthcare Pharmacists (GHP) heard the news of the death of Joan Greenleaf MBE. Joan was an honorary vice president of the GHP and made an enormous contribution to the development of hospital pharmacy during her working life.

Following her qualification as a pharmacist in 1954, Joan pursued a career in hospital pharmacy and, in 1975, was one of the first regional pharmaceutical officers appointed in England, following the Noel Hall Report. Joan was appointed regional pharmaceutical officer for North East Thames and remained in post until her retirement in 1990. During her time in this role, she supported the development of specialties, such as medicines information and quality control, and the instigation of the taught Master’s degree in clinical pharmacy at the School of Pharmacy, University of London.

Joan served on the Guild Council (for the GHP) for many years and was honorary secretary in 1972, when the Industrial Relations Bill had become law. She played an enormous part in negotiating the affiliation of GHP with the Association of Scientific, Technical and Managerial Staffs, with the eventual merger taking place in 1974. It was this merger that allowed the GHP to have a voice in the negotiating of terms and conditions, which it still maintains today through the union Unite.

Joan received the Evans (now Guild) medal in 1975, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Charter silver medal in 1993 and an Order of the British Empire in recognition of her services to healthcare.

In 2018, we contacted Joan to ask permission to include her in our NHS 70 campaign, which showcased pharmacists’ work as part of celebrations to mark the 70th anniversary of the NHS. She replied as follows:

“I am very lucky still to be reasonably fit at 89 next month, although with much reduced mobility, keeping in touch with former colleagues, spending a lot of time holidaying. The last few years I have been going to the same hotel in the Slovenian Alps in summer and one in southern Spain in winter. I keep my mind active by doing short online courses on a variety of subjects, and with those on my iPad and books on my Kindle, I have plenty to occupy me on holiday, where I meet new and some old friends.”

Vilma Gilis Lay, on behalf of the Guild of Healthcare Pharmacists

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, July 2021, Vol 307, No 7951;307(7951)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2021.1.96246

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