We are deeply saddened to share the news that Ray Lyon, recently retired chief pharmacist of Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, has passed away. Ray was a much-loved husband, father, grandfather, mentor, friend and colleague who will be missed enormously.
Over his long and profound career, Ray influenced many key regional and national policies, as well as countless clinical guidelines that shaped and refined medicines optimisation in mental health services. For many years prior to his retirement, Ray proudly represented the region on the NHS England Chief Pharmacist Group; and as a fellow for the College of Mental Health Pharmacy, he continued to raise the profile of this network nationally. He was a key part of the national working group that developed the hospital pharmacy standards, which provide a framework and governance structure for our services and care for patients every day.
Prior to moving into mental health services in 2003, Ray spent a number of years as a district pharmaceutical adviser before becoming the chief pharmacist at the Royal West Sussex NHS Trust. Throughout all of his connections, Ray was always a strong advocate for our patients’ voices. He developed and expanded many services and took every opportunity to connect our pharmacy workforce and skill to our care for patients. He had a particular passion for improving the quality and readability of information in learning disability services, as well as improving care in child and adolescent mental health services. Ray always strived to make services more patient-focused: he set up one-stop clinics to make healthcare more accessible for families, and took any opportunity to improve connectivity. His passion for doing so was second to none.
It’s hard to express in words just how much Ray will be missed: not only for his knowledge and expertise, but just as a person. He had a boundless enthusiasm that just made you smile. Ray was infinitely kind and compassionate; he would always make time for you and did so with a smile. He was one of the loveliest people you could meet and a true role model and inspiration for many. He leaves a huge void in our pharmacy community that is unfillable, and we will carry his legacy on in all of our work to come.
It was our privilege to have known and worked with Ray. Thank you, Ray, for being our leader and friend; we will always miss you.
Helena Bird, chief pharmacist at Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust