Hereford & Worcester

New Year Honours 2020: Military doctor becomes OBE

Dr Jonathan Leach in Basra, Iraq Image copyright Jonathan Leach
Image caption Dr Jonathan Leach, pictured in Basra, Iraq, served abroad for 17 of his 25 years of military service

A GP who served for 25 years in the military and has helped provide mental health support for thousands of veterans has been appointed an OBE.

Dr Jonathan Leach has been recognised for services to general practice.

As NHS England medical director for military and veterans health, he helped create a network of 600 surgeries to support military veterans.

Dr Leach, who works as a GP in Bromsgrove, said he was "stunned, surprised [and] humbled".

The 59-year-old is also joint honorary secretary of the Royal College of General Practitioners.

Image copyright Jonathan Leach
Image caption Dr Leach said he had seen "some horrid things" during his military service

Dr Leach, who reached the rank of colonel before leaving the military 11 years ago, served in operational tours of Northern Ireland, Yugoslavia and Iraq.

He said his work with veterans had come from his own experiences, adding: "I don't have PTSD, but I have seen some horrid things.

"The majority of veterans are fine, but there is a very clear minority who need every help, and I saw that while still serving, either here or overseas."

The GP at Davenhal House surgery is married to Susan and has two daughters, one a graphic designer and the other a junior doctor at Hereford County Hospital.

Image copyright PATRYCJA MIC
Image caption Dr David Hewett said he accepted his award on behalf of all those who work on Intensive Interaction

Also recognised is Dr David Hewett, the co-founder of Intensive Interaction.

He has been appointed an OBE for services to people with special educational needs and disabilities.

The 67-year-old from Malvern pioneered an approach designed to help people with learning difficulties and autism to develop communication skills.

Dr Hewett, along with Dr Melanie Nind, worked on it during his time as the principal of a special educational needs school in Hertfordshire in the 1980s. It is now used by families all over the world.

"The feedback families give our associates is wonderful, it can change their lives," he said.

"What happens is you get a little person, who is often on their own most of the time, become somebody social and lit up and communicative and interactive with their family and that's just fantastic."

On receiving the honour, he said: "I was a bit bemused actually, I'm no kind of establishment figure, but it is a wonderful, joyful thing to happen on behalf of the approach and I accept wondrously on behalf what we do and the recognition it brings to us."

Other honours recipients from Herefordshire and Worcestershire include:

  • Nina Ann Purcell, from Herefordshire, appointed a CBE for services to consumer safety in England Wales and Northern Ireland
  • William Samuel Clive Richards, OBE, DL., appointed a CBE for services to charity and to the community in Herefordshire
  • Joanne Cable, nurse team manager at Hereford Garrison, appointed an MBE for services to military personnel and families

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