Our weekly guide e to healthcare's most influential people No 64

Published: 04/04/2002, Volume II2, No. 5799 Page 20 21

Name: Richard Taylor

Job: MP for Wyre Forest

Style: Man of the people - the 'mild, thoughtful' retired doc with 'more bedside manner than brash bravura'unseated a Labour minister to win Wyre Forest for Kidderminster Hospital Health Concern, a first for a hospital campaign.Now he's gone national: he's on the Commons health select committee, the leading light of the all-party parliamentary local hospitals group and the man behind last month's colourful joint lobby of Downing Street and Richmond House by seven hospital campaigns.Be afraid, closure and downgrading fans - local hospitals are now a national issue, and local councillors were out in force with the campaigners, too.Has less time these days for birdwatching, collecting Dinky toys and planting trees.

Background: Went to the same school as former independent MP Martin Bell.Early medical career was interrupted by national service: he was one of the last five called up to the RAF.Worked in London before a consultant physician post at Kidderminster Hospital in 1972.Hospital staff committee chair 1975-77 and 1986-90.Member of the district HA from 1982-86 and of the community health council from 1997-98.Retired in 1995, later becoming chair of the Save Kidderminster Hospital campaign.Elected in June with 28,487 votes.

Future prospects: The NHS Confederation, Royal College of Physicians and others are looking at ways to sustain district general hospitals by linking them to 'area'hospitals, while Professor Ara Darzi has devised a similar model for Co Durham.

Expect Dr Taylor to push such solutions for local hospitals all the way - and he's known for winning.