Dr Anand Chitnis has been awarded the MBE in the New Years Honours 2021 for services to the NHS, mental health and disabilities.

Anand qualified as a doctor from the Universities of St Andrews and Manchester, and is the senior partner in a GP practice in Castle Bromwich in the West Midlands, following in the footsteps of his grandfather who set up the practice in the late 1930’s and his father who joined the practice in the 1950’s. Anand became chair of the Solihull NHS Clinical Commissioning Group in 2012 – the organisation that commissions and funds the NHS locally for 240000 patients.

Recently he has been leading the Covid-19 Emergency response in the area, organising GP practices and community services to respond to the pandemic. More recently, this has involved setting up teams to undertake the widespread vaccination of patients.

For the last 20 years Anand has been a champion on mental health issues. He has been closely involved in the training of health and social care professionals to offer a more patient and family centred service, focusing on the ‘recovery’ of patients in a more meaningful way than just medication and doctors appointments. He has been lead tutor on the Trailblazers mental health course which extended for a while beyond the UK to the USA and New Zealand, and in doing so has helped develop services with ‘trailblazers’ at the forefront of mental health care.

In his commissioning role he was clinical lead on the development of psychological therapy services in all local GP surgeries making them more accessible to patients and their families, as well as developing children and young people’s mental health services beyond the traditional ones, to be closely involved with schools, including teacher and parent support. He has been part of a national drive to ensure the physical health of those with mental illness and disabilities is looked after far more than has been the case in the past. This has included ensuring all GPs offer an annual health check to patients on their register.

He has been closely involved in developing guidance for the healthcare professionals on behalf of the Royal College of GPs, on complex medical issues that are often difficult to explain and diagnose. He was awarded the Fellowship of the RCGP in 2005.

Since the early 1980’s Anand has been involved with The Newman Holiday Trust, a registered charity that provides summer holiday breaks for children with disabilities. The Charity places special emphasis on giving holidays to children who would not usually be able to have one. He has chaired the charity since 1986 which runs holidays at six venues in England and one in Scotland. The charity has for 7 years received Outstanding status from Ofsted. All the funds received to run the charity come through donations, and all the staff are volunteers giving their own time to support these special and wonderful children, and helping their families have a break. Whilst at Stonyhurst he was on the Executive of the Higher Line Handicapped Children’s Trust (as it was known then) from which the Newman Trust spawned.

“It is a great privilege to receive this honour. I must also accept this on behalf of the amazing people I have had the privilege to work with in my practice, the wider NHS and the many Trailblazers on mental health issues. The team of trustees and volunteers at the Newman Trust are truly extraordinary. It is so important that the efforts to improve the services and care for those with mental illness and those with disabilities are recognised. And as for the last year, it has been the most challenging of my career. The staff in the NHS and care sector are having to work such long hours and deal with the heartache of this dreadful disease. I am in awe of how professional and dedicated they are under the most testing of circumstances. The personal and emotional cost is huge. I am pleased I have been able to play my part in supporting and working alongside them. And most of all I must thank my wife, four children and my wider family for the support they constantly give me in these various roles and during these difficult times. This work has required long days far beyond the usual working week into evenings and weekends. My family are my foundation in this work. They lift my spirit, and help keep my feet, mind and heart grounded, which I hope makes me a better person overall.”

Dr Anand John Chitnis MBE