A BROMSGROVE doctor who has helped develop a network of ‘veteran friendly’ NHS GP practices has received an OBE in The Queen’s New Year’s Honours List.
Dr Jonathan Leach, a GP at Davenal House surgery, has been recognised for his services to general practice.
Dr Leach joined the surgery in 2009 after originally undertaking a military career and reaching the rank of colonel.
When he returned to civilian life Dr Leach, who is also the joint honorary secretary of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), strove to improve general practice and dealing with current challenges and urgent care.
He also, along with the RCGP, worked to offer better support for veterans and members of the Armed Forces community.
The ‘veteran friendly’ GP practice scheme was trialled in the West Midlands and has been extended to Wessex, Yorkshire and the North East with the North West to follow suit next.
There are now more than 600 ‘veteran friendly’ practices signed up to the scheme.
Dr Leach, who is also a board member of Redditch and Bromsgrove CCG and Chair of the NHS England Armed Forces Clinical Reference Group, helps train other GPs and health professionals so they are better equipped to meet the needs of veterans and offers advice to neighbouring surgeries and doctors.
And the veteran helping element is now in the GP curriculum and exams which means any general practitioners being trained from now on will have those skills to take into their careers.
He also helps anyone with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) whether it be from working in the emergency services, car crash or serious crime victims or others who need the specific help.
Dr Leach said: “In my time in the armed forces and during a six-month spell with the ambulance service I saw hundreds of horrific incidents and situations.
“I do not have PTSD but I can understand how people could get it and that is how I am able to help.
“I know the importance of patients getting their diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible so we can get them the help they need.”
Reflecting on the honour he said: “I was totally stunned, surprised and humbled to receive the award.
“I want to thank my patients, families, friends and colleagues who have taught me so much over the years.”