It is with immense sadness that the Department of Operating Department Practice in the School of Healthcare Studies reports the tragic and untimely death of Paul Ward, a leading light in perioperative education in the UK and beyond. Paul died on Sunday 22 July as a result of complications following routine surgery the previous week. Paul was a fantastic colleague – someone who was liked by all, always ready to help, with a ready smile and a great sense of humour; he was also someone who always had time to stop and say hello. He will be sorely missed.
Paul qualified as an Operating Department Assistant in London during the 1980s, and subsequently moved to Australia where he worked until returning to London in 1989. The following year saw Paul make a permanent move to South Wales and employment back with the UK National Health Service. In 1996, Paul became Deputy Director of the Department of Operating Department Practice, University of Wales College of Medicine – now Cardiff University - where he made an outstanding contribution to the development of the department and the portfolio of qualifications offered. In doing so he also made a significant contribution to the Operating Department Practitioner profession and to the development of perioperative education more broadly. He was intimately involved in the development of all programmes offered by the Department and, earlier in the year, personally led the revalidation of its Dip HE provision and the development of a newly validated MSc/PgDip in Surgical Care Practice – the first of its kind in the UK. At the time of his death, Paul was putting the final touches to a revised BSc(Hons) programme in Perioperative Practice and a newly developed MSc programme in Perioperative Practice.
Paul was also intimately involved in activities outside of the department, where he served on many School committees and groups. Earlier this year he played a major role in the revalidation of all pre-registration programmes within the School of Healthcare Studies in Cardiff University, and was undertaking a similar role in the process of redeveloping the School's post-registration provision in preparation for an autumn revalidation.
On a national basis, Paul was an External Examiner at two UK universities and sat on the Education Committee of the National Association of Assistants in Surgical Practice. It was likely that he was about to become involved in the professional activities of the Association for Perioperative Practice, and had also served as a member of the PROPRIUS National Committee and the Education Committee of the Association (now College) of Operating Department Practitioners.
Whilst making all of these contributions, Paul also found time to pursue his Doctoral studies, and was about to travel to Canada to commence gathering data for his research. Paul is well known throughout the world as a result of his many conference presentations, on a variety of topics, in the UK, Spain, Australia and Canada. As a result of his desire to learn, his enthusiasm for his area of work and his friendly and outgoing personality, Paul made many friends along the way.
Paul was a well liked, enthusiastic and dedicated professional, who was held in the utmost respect by his colleagues and peers across the world; he is a massive loss to the department, School and perioperative education. As a colleague of Paul's has said – we will be able cope with the work gap left by Paul; the gap left by the man will be much harder to cope with. He was also, though, a devoted family man, and the biggest loss will be felt by his wife and children, Odette, Matthew and Haganah, and the rest of his family. Our thoughts are with them.
Dr Alun Morgan, Department of Operating Department Practice