Senior Consulting Fellow, Centre on Global Health Security
Louis Lillywhite

Contact information


Louis Lillywhite retired as surgeon general of the UK Armed Forces in 2010.

His 42-year career in the Army included medical appointments as a consultant occupational physician, operational deployments, and command and staff appointments in the Ministry of Defence and in various army and NATO Headquarters.

Significant previous appointments include commanding officer of the Army's parachute medical unit, commander medical one (UK) armoured division (which included the first Gulf War), chief executive of the British Forces Health Service in Germany, director general of the Army Medical Service and director general medical operational capability, during which he led a major review of the Armed Forces medical capability.

Since retirement he has worked with Chatham House and has recently started a three-year research programme, in collaboration with partners in Europe and India, on transition between conflict and development, which is funded by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme.

He is also chief medical officer for St John’s Ambulance England and a medical member of the Tribunal Appeal Service Social Entitlement Chamber; hearing appeals in Wales and the South West on various medical-related social security benefits. 

He was, until March 2014, a member of the Bevan Commission for Wales. He qualified from the Welsh National School of Medicine (MB, BCH) in 1971 and gained an MSc in Occupational Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in in 1989.

He joined the Membership of the Faculty of Occupational Medicine (MFOM) in 1990 and the Membership of the Institute of Healthcare Management (MHIM) in 2008. 

He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine; the British Medical Association; and a trustee of the Medical Society of London (president 2009 – 2010).  He is president of his local branch of the Royal British Legion and of the Airborne Medical Society. 

He was appointed MBE in 1985, OStJ in 2007, CB in 2009 and QHS from 2002 until 2010. 

Other honours and awards include: the USA Secretary of State for Defense for Exceptional Public Service; honorary member of the Association of Medical Consultants to the (USA) Armed Forces (2009); honorary FRCGP; and honorary FRCP (Glasg). 

He was Mentioned-in-Despatches in the First Gulf War (1990-91).

Areas of expertise

  • Military contribution to health service construction/reconstruction
  • Contribution of health service to conflict prevention and resolution
  • Medical aspects of conflict

Past experience

2010 -Chief Medical Officer, St John Ambulance
2007 - 2010Surgeon-General, UK Armed Forces
2005 - 2007Director-General, Army Medical Services