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Pharmacy bodies pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II as national mourning begins

Voices from across the pharmacy sector have paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II, the UK's longest reigning monarch, who served for 70 years. 

Buckingham Palace confirmed the Queen “died peacefully” at Balmoral Castle in Scotland yesterday (September 8) at the age of 96. She had been joined by close family members earlier in the day.

Her Majesty had a long-established relationship with the sector during her 70-year reign, meeting with pharmacy teams and notable figures within the sector.


“Much-valued patron of the RPS”


The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) said that it was “with great regret that we learnt of the death of our patron, Queen Elizabeth II”, as it led tributes to the monarch.

In a statement, the body added: “Her Majesty gave 70 years of public service to this country. She was the much-valued patron of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and her death will be deeply felt by pharmacists and the whole pharmacy family.”

Read more: Boots chief among 3 pharmacists recognised in Queen’s Jubilee Honours list

The Queen became RPS patron after the death of her father, King George VI – who was RPS patron himself – in 1952.

“In 1988, the Queen agreed that the title ‘Royal’ should be granted to the then ‘Pharmaceutical Society’. RPS was originally granted a Royal Charter of Incorporation by Queen Victoria,” the RPS added.

RPS president Claire Anderson will write to the royal family, “to express sincere condolences from the RPS”, it said.

Photo credit: Thorrun Govind

RPS English Pharmacy board chair Thorrun Govind also paid tribute to the Queen on Twitter, posting a picture of her and former RPS director for England, Ravi Sharma, meeting the monarch at a Buckingham Palace garden party in 2019.

“I’m so glad we got to talk about pharmacy” she added. “An amazing woman who really did understand pharmacy”, she tweeted later.


“She was truly a towering figure”


The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee said it was “very saddened to hear of the death of Her Majesty the Queen”.

“At this time of national mourning, we join the rest of the country in sending our thoughts and condolences to the royal family,” it added.

Meanwhile, the Company Chemists’ Association took to Twitter to pay its respects. “We heard with great sorrow the news of the death of Queen Elizabeth II,” it wrote.

“We pay tribute to Her Majesty’s dedication and tenacity throughout her reign and extend profound admiration and gratitude for her service. Our thoughts are with the royal family and all those who are mourning.”

Association of Independent Multiple pharmacies CEO Leyla Hannbeck told C+D that AIMp is “saddened at the passing of HM Queen Elizabeth” and its “thoughts are with the family”.

“May she rest in peace with our deep respect that she devoted most of her life in service to our country and the Commonwealth,” Dr Hannbeck added.

Read more: Prince Charles praises pharmacy teams' ‘dedication’ at St James’s Palace reception

National Pharmacy Association (NPA) chair Andrew Lane also expressed his sorrow and extended his deepest condolences to the royal family on behalf of the NPA board and staff.

“She was truly a towering figure in our nation and around the world,” he said.

“We pay tribute to King Charles III, who so recently welcomed hundreds of pharmacists into Clarence House to recognise the NPA’s centenary and recognise the work of our members,” he added.

The upcoming NPA conference, which was scheduled to take place across September 13-14, will be postponed until further notice, Mr Lane added.

“In line with protocol, we will minimise public NPA events, unless essential, for the period of mourning until after the funeral,” he said.

“We will continue to provide comprehensive support to help our members in the vital work they do; our advice lines and support services remain open as usual.”


PDA suspends media activity


Meanwhile, the Pharmacists’ Defence Association decided to suspend all media and campaigning activity following the announcement from Buckingham Palace.

“We send our sincere condolences to the royal family, for their personal loss,” it added.

Pharmacist Support also tweeted that it was “deeply saddened” by the news of Her Majesty’s death.

“The Queen’s commitment to charitable causes and helping those in need was an inspiration and will be remembered as part of her legacy. Our thoughts are with her family at this sad time.”


Health chiefs and politicians pay tribute


Earlier today, England’s chief pharmaceutical officer David Webb tweeted that he was “incredibly saddened by the loss of our Queen who gave unique, enduring, exemplary service and leadership to our country”.

 “I’m sure pharmacy colleagues are trying to take in the news as I am. This period of national mourning will be a time to honour her immense contribution,” he added.

Amanda Pritchard, chief executive at NHS England and NHS Improvement, wrote in a statement that the entire health service was “incredibly saddened by the news”, adding that her “heartfelt condolences are with the royal family at this time”.

Her Majesty awarded NHS staff the George Cross at a ceremony in Windsor Castle in July this year, for their service over 74 years.

New deputy prime minister and health secretary Thérèse Coffey joined Britain’s former health secretaries in mourning, tweeting that her “thoughts and prayers are with His Majesty King Charles III and all the royal family.”

Read more: Three pharmacists recognised in Queen's New Year Honours list

One of her predecessors, Steve Barclay, commemorated the Queen’s passing by saying: “A life of the most remarkable service and duty.”

He added: “On behalf of constituents across north-east Cambridgeshire, I know there will be the most profound sadness and sense of loss as we mourn an extraordinary monarch and send our deepest condolences to the royal family.”

Meanwhile, Sajid Javid said: “After a lifetime of service, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II now rests. A lifetime of devotion and extraordinary service, which will forever be remembered. May she rest in peace.”

Pharmacy minister James Morris tweeted that he was “very saddened to hear that Her Majesty has passed away”.

“She was our longest-reigning monarch and a remarkable public servant,” he added. “My thoughts are with her family at this very difficult time.”

Former pharmacy minister Maria Caulfield also took to Twitter to pay her respects. “I am deeply saddened to hear that Her Majesty the Queen has passed away,” she said.

“My prayers and condolences to the royal family at this time of grief for our nation. God save the King,” she added.


Wholesalers pay respects


Pharmaceutical wholesalers also paid tribute to the Queen on social media.

AAH Pharmaceuticals tweeted that it was “deeply saddened by the news”, adding that “after 70 years serving the country as our monarch, there are no words for the grief felt across the nation. We offer our sincere condolences. Our thoughts are with the royal family at this time.”

Meanwhile Sigma PLC shared its “deepest condolences to the royal family”.

It added: “The country mourns the loss of a figurehead who has been an inspirational and gracious leader to the United Kingdom and Commonwealth.”


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