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Dr Lesley Mountford Obituary

Lesley died 01/06/2022 in Homerton University Hospital after a long illness. She had previously been a governor at the hospital as part of her role working at City and Hackney PCT.

Lesley was born in Nottingham City Hospital in 1967. Her parents, Len and Ann, ran a local community pharmacy business and Lesley, along with her older sister, Judith, lived above the shop for the first few years of her life. Her two younger brothers Stephen and Richard, came along after the family moved out to suburban Arnold, Nottinghamshire, where all four children attended the same local state schools.

Lesley, always a ‘straight A’ student, was encouraged into medicine by her pharmacist father and qualified with Bachelor of Medical Sciences in 1991 at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne with Distinction and Edith Linden Prize (for highest marks by a woman student) in written finals. She chose to stay in the North East for another four years, working as a GP. A measure of her outstanding academic achievement was her winning of the Fraser Rose medal and GP Registrar’s prize for highest marks in the country when qualifying as a GP in 1996. She then went onto complete her MSc (Distinction) in Public Health in 1999 at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine – a place she continued to work with until her recent own ill-health took over.

Lesley moved to London in 1998, eventually settling permanently in Hackney – the place she lived and adored to her dying day. Following her work at the Greater London Authority under Ken Livingstone, and then the King’s Fund as a Specialist Registrar, she moved to City and Hackney Primary Care Trust, where she would eventually become Director of Public Health as well as the Medical Director. Always a champion of tackling health inequalities, Lesley was extremely proud of the improvements made across a number of public health issues in Hackney. During her stint; gap in life expectancy between rich and poor men narrowed to 3.1 years, one of the smallest in the country; Teenage conceptions reduced by 60% against earlier baselines; infant mortality reduced to London average and the local Teenage Pregnancy Partnership won a prestigious award for Improving Health and Reducing Inequalities at the London Health and Social Care Awards 2008. 

Lesley travelled the world for both work and pleasure, undertaking a medical elective in Thailand. She developed a passion for all different parts of the planet, including India, Ghana, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Chile, Argentina and Cuba. Always bringing back stories of the people, the culture and their related health issues – both positive and negative – but also lofty ambitions of both learning from them or in some cases going back to help improve those areas in the future.

Lesley leaves three siblings, two nephews, two nieces and many, many friends dotted across the world.

She was an extremely generous woman – as her nieces and nephews will strongly testify, with a typically dry wit that was honed in the East Midlands in the 1970s but likely stems more from her heritage of miners and publicans in Stoke-on-Trent - the city where both her parents were raised and of which she was incredibly proud.

The Mountford family

Published 20 June 2022

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