Joy Wingfield, professor of pharmacy law and ethics and a Fellow of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), has died aged 73 years.
Wingfield qualified as a pharmacist in 1971 and within six years had risen to become an inspector for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB). In 1986, she took up the role of RPSGB head of ethics and registration, in which she was responsible for revision and operation of the Society’s Code of Ethics, among other duties. She also obtained a Master’s degree in health law.
Later in her career, Wingfield broadened her expertise to cover animal medicine law, achieving a diploma in agricultural and veterinary pharmacy and an MPhil exploring the legal aspects of antibiotics in animal husbandry.
In 1991, Wingfield was appointed as assistant pharmacy superintendent for Boots, a position that included being responsible for the company’s legal and ethical risk management.
After ten years with Boots, Wingfield was appointed to an honorary chair at the University of Nottingham school of pharmacy, where she taught students on the MPharm degree.
Matthew Boyd, head of pharmacy practice and policy at the University of Nottingham, recalls that he was “awestruck at the opportunity to be working with the Joy Wingfield”.
“The truth be told, Joy was a lovely, friendly individual. She always looked out for her colleagues and was a great friend and confidante,” he said.
Describing Wingfield as having a “quite wicked sense of humour at times”, Boyd noted that her “reactions to political and regulatory decisions, especially those that defied logic (and there were many), were quite unforgettable”.
He added that it was Wingfield’s encouragement, support and direction “that set me on a path to receiving my RPS fellowship last year”.
Claire Anderson, professor of social pharmacy at the University of Nottingham’s school of pharmacy and chair of the RPS’s English Pharmacy Board, said that Wingfield “contributed greatly to the development of teaching and learning in pharmacy law and ethics in the UK, and beyond, through the Advancing the Provision of Pharmacy Law and Ethics Teaching project, which enabled schools of pharmacy to share their learning in these areas”.
“She was incredibly well respected across our profession, and gave outstanding service in promoting the interests of pharmacy over her whole career,” said Anderson.
Wingfield was also, she said, “well known to many members of the RPS’s English Pharmacy Board, who have been recognising her wonderful contribution to our profession”.
Anderson also recalled “very vibrant lunchtime discussions whenever Joy was around”.
“She was always challenging our thinking, and questioning our practice and research. Joy was also great fun: we have fond memories of her tap dancing at a number of our pharmacy practice social evenings.”
In 1997, Wingfield, alongside Gordon Appelbe, co-founded the Pharmacy Law and Ethics Association (PLEA), and chaired the Association until 2015.
David Reissner, current chair of PLEA and co-editor of Dale and Appelbe’s Pharmacy and Medicines Law, said Wingfield founded the Association to encourage interest in the subject of pharmacy law and ethics: an area that had not, he said, previously been at the forefront of teaching and practice. Wingfield “brought the subject to the fore, not only through her teaching and through PLEA, but also through her writing”.
Reissner also recalls Wingfield as having “a sharp wit”: she did not, he said, “hold back from expressing her views when she believed the government or regulators were not doing what they should”.
Wingfield was widely known and highly respected for her publications in the field of pharmacy law and ethics. She co-edited Dale and Appelbe’s Pharmacy and Medicines Law from 1993 until 2017, covering the 5th to 11th additions: initially alongside Gordon Appelbe, and later with Karen Pitchford.
She also co-authored two editions of Practical Exercises in Pharmacy Law and Ethics, published in 1997 and 2002, as well as Pharmacy Ethics and Decision Making, published in 2007. She was also a regular contributor to The Pharmaceutical Journal, sharing her expertise on areas including patient consent and rebalancing medicines legislation.
Mark Pollard, associate publisher at Pharmaceutical Press, said Wingfield “has made an unrivalled contribution through her writing and editing”.
“She was always lively and engaging in every media, as well as in person. Her dedication to pharmacy and to developing the profession was truly inspiring.”
Ian Simpson, former chief executive of the College of Pharmacy Practice and former chair of the RPS Membership Committee, worked alongside Wingfield in both capacities. “Joy became a founder member of the College of Pharmacy Practice when it was established by the Society in 1981, and she remained a strong supporter for over 30 years,” he said. Wingfield was, Simpson added, “one of the great pharmacists of our generation, but she was modest about her achievements”.
“To me, and many others, she was a valued colleague and a good friend, and we mourn her passing.”