NHS supremo returns to Dagenham school for awards evening

Dr Keith Ridge is pictured at Eastbrook School with several award winners

Dr Keith Ridge is pictured at Eastbrook School with several award winners - Credit: Archant

A former pupil who has reached the top echelons of the Department of Health returned to his former school to share his tips for success.

Dr Keith Ridge, who is now the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer at NHS England, was at Eastbrook School as it held its yearly awards for high achieving students.

Keith said: “It was great privilege to be asked to present the awards. All the winners have worked hard to get to this point and have done fantastically well. I really enjoyed presenting the awards and seeing the great progress Eastbrook is making.”

Keith grew up above an angling shop owned by his parents in Oxlow Lane, attending Hunters Hall then Eastbrook School. He was one of nine students on roll in the then fledging Sixth Form and successfully passed A Levels in Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics.

He also represented the school at rugby and was House Captain for athletics. Simon Charlton, assistant head teacher at the Dagenham school said one abiding sporting memory from Keith’s Eastbrook days came from a football match between staff and the Sixth Form. During the game he tackled a young Tony Adams – also a former pupil. The encounter led to the future Arsenal and England star leaving the pitch with a broken arm.

From 1984 -1987 Keith studied at the University of London School of Pharmacy, gaining a first class honours degree in Pharmacy. He was awarded an MSc in Clinical Pharmacy with distinction in 1992 from the same institution. He then received a PhD from the University of Manchester in 1998.

Keith has been Chief Pharmaceutical Officer at the Department of Health since March 2006. He has led major changes to pharmacy including the establishment of a new pharmacy professional regulator, the General Pharmaceutical Council.

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In April 2013, he was appointed Chief Pharmaceutical Officer at NHS England while still supporting the Department of Health, and is also Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for Health Education England.

In the 2014 New Year Honours list, Keith was awarded a CBE for services to the pharmacy profession and patients.