Tributes paid to ‘a very special’ community nurse and leader

Tributes have been paid following the death of David Pugh, an inspirational and widely respected senior community nurse who led a national network for district nurses for more than a decade.

Mr Pugh, who had worked in health and care for more than 30 years, died peacefully on Wednesday 8 November, with his husband at his side.

“He is a huge loss to the nursing profession and a loss to the family of Queen’s Nurses”

Crystal Oldman

His most recent role was as Sirona Care and Health’s assistant locality manager for South Gloucestershire and was a former chair of the National District Nurse Network.

However, he started his nursing career as a healthcare assistant and completed various support roles for a number of years before commencing nurse training in 2001.

On qualifying as a registered nurse, he took up his first community nurse role within a rapid response team, in order to develop his career in the community settings.

He went on to complete a BSc (Hons) Health and Community Practice: District Nursing and a postgraduate certificate in NHS Leadership.

Key moments in his career including setting up the South Bristol Primary Care Home Collaborative Leg Clinic to improve the health of people in a deprived area of the city.

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He was also involved in setting up antiviral collection points and a vaccination centre for swine flu in 2009 and more recently in supporting the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In recognition of his achievements, he received the Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother Award for Outstanding Service in March this year from the Queen’s Nursing Institute.

He was also one of the 75 Nurses that Nursing Times selected as influencing the NHS over the last 75 years and he attended the celebratory event in July.

Commenting at the time, he said: “For me, it is about trying to make things better for people, my colleagues and those in our care. I always hope that whatever I do makes a difference.”

In addition, he was featured in the role model section of Nursing Times in April, following receipt of his award from the QNI.

QNI chief executive Dr Crystal Oldman said: “He is a huge loss to the nursing profession and a loss to the family of Queen’s Nurses and the QNI.

“When I visited his organisation to give the award, it felt like the whole organisation – including the chair – came along to recognise David’s achievements in being given this award.

“He was indeed a very special nurse, district nurse, nurse manager and Queen’s Nurse,” said Dr Oldman. “We are working out a way to recognise his contribution to nursing.”

She added: “He was the loveliest human being, a true champion of nursing and fantastic role model.”

Also paying tribute, Sirona’s chief nursing officer, Mary Lewis, said: “We were hugely saddened by David’s death.

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“He has been described in internal tributes within Sirona as truly special, inspirational, genuine, kind and dedicated to nursing and people shared how they were privileged to work alongside him.

“He was a friend to many and helped to start many careers as well as being recognised regionally and nationally for his outstanding service,” said Ms Lewis. 

“He worked across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire and led on many of our key developments for community nursing and championed innovation,” she said.

She added: “His smile lit up every room. He will be truly missed and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”

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