Our weekly guide to healthcare's most influential people

Published: 27/03/2003, Volume II3, No. 5848 Page 18 19

Name: Peter Bradley

Job: Chief executive and chief ambulance officer, London Ambulance Service.

Style: A Yorkshire accent unscathed by more than 20 years in New Zealand, he has a bluntness of manner that quickly morphs into openness.

Spends a lot of time in station messes and seems well able to handle himself in the cut-and-thrust of the rank-and-file.Helped by the fact that, rare among chief executives, he is qualified to work on the front line and puts in a shift at least once a month - 'I always pick up something useful'.Plain speaking and good listening came in useful after inheriting an organisation with poor union relations.Changing that, he says, 'helped restore pride' in staff who had withstood a demoralising 1990s.Passionate about raising the profile of ambulance trusts within the NHS, 'showing them we are more sophisticated than people think'.

Background: Moved to New Zealand aged 16 and joined the Auckland ambulance service at 19, moving up gradually to the top job in 1992.

Left to do an MBA and then headhunted by the LAS in 1996, getting his current job in 2000.Takes over as president of the Ambulance Service Association in June.

Future prospects: A key time for the ambulance service in which it must convince its NHS colleagues that it can help solve waiting-list problems, most obviously on accident and emergency but more widely if integrated better with primary care.Mr Bradley's ability to 'articulate his vision and bring people with him', as a colleague describes it, as well as the scale of the LAS within the service, means his presidency has come at just the right moment to influence that argument.