Tribute to Peter Noyce

Much has rightly been written in the June 2017 issue of The Pharmaceutical Journal by many senior figures in the profession in tribute to the major impact made to the profession, and health care more broadly, by Peter Noyce, who sadly and prematurely died on 3 June 2017.

I would like to add a few additional personal remarks. As head of the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at University of Manchester in 1991, I helped to recruit Peter to Manchester to fill the newly created post of Boots endowed chair in pharmacy practice, one of the first such chairs in the UK. Those were times of great change within the profession, with the rise of clinical pharmacy both professionally and within academia, and the increasing recognition of the need to engage in practice research (as has historically been the case in the other health professions) to provide a sound basis for making decisions affecting the future of the profession. It is fair to say that at the time there was much scepticism within academic pharmacy of the need to make such a chair appointment, but it was clear, at least to me, that without someone in such a leadership position, progress and fulfillment of those of us promoting pharmacy practice would have been seriously wanting. In seeking the right candidate I discussed the post with many persons including Peter, then deputy chief pharmacist at the Department of Health. I was immediately impressed by his commitment to the profession, by his vision, ability to think strategically, his understanding of institutions, and by his personal qualities, a sense of purpose, a presence, coupled with a wry sense of humour. And, I was also greatly encouraged by his genuine interest in the post.

Peter and I worked closely together for the next 13 years helping to build up the school, sometimes during turbulent times, until my retirement from the university in 2004, each serving as head of school during part of this time. It was a pleasure to work with him. The chemistry between us worked so well, I from the experimental sciences and he from pharmacy practice, but both committed to the school and to the profession. It was an open, warm, productive and lively relationship and one of complete trust. He had an infectious smile and a twinkle in his eye, but when needed could be resolute. We often met for lunch not knowing where the conversation would lead, but confident that something useful would emerge from these casual conversations, and it generally did. When I needed his help he was always there for me, and I would like to think he felt the same of me. I took great pleasure seeing him build up a strong academic group, which he coined the Drug Usage and Pharmacy Practice (DUPP) group, collaborating with both hospital and community pharmacy, and with others in the university. Through his efforts he helped to advance pharmacy practice and bring international prestige to the school. After I left the university, we exchanged birthday greetings, born on the same day of the year although on different years, and we met periodically when he would update me with developments in the university and more widely, coupled with an anecdote here and there. I savoured those meetings.

Peter has left a wonderful legacy. I, like many others, will miss him greatly. My thoughts and heartfelt condolences go to his wife Sue, and to his children Alasdair and Rosie.

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, August 2017, Vol 299, 7904;299(7904)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2017.20203068

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