Our weekly guide to healthcare's most influential people

Published: 26/09/2002, Volume II2, No. 5824 Page 9

Name: Ian Philp

Job: National director for older people's services

Style: Salsa dancing enthusiast with heart-throb good looks - at least for the Department of Health.He has also got the biggest/toughest/most important (take your pick) of all the DoH czar jobs.The national service framework for older people - which he was instrumental in putting together - moves across clinical disciplines and organisational boundaries affecting intermediate, social, acute and primary care.Supporters say his biggest success since taking up the post two years ago has been persuading his political masters that without fundamental improvements for the elderly, most of their other cherished NHS reforms would never happen.No archetypal bruiser, his lack of experience in the rough and tumble world of high-level politics may - according to some - have been a drawback when he became director.But he has scaled a steep learning curve.Principled.Would have quit his post if his framework had been scaled down and its ambitions stifled.

Background: The son of a doctor, at age four was taken on tours of elderly patient wards to hand out Christmas presents.Found further inspiration for his career in geriatrics from Professor Jimmy Williams - one of his mentors when he was an Edinburgh medical student.

Now an honorary consultant physician at Northern General Hospital in Sheffield.

Future prospects: This man loves his job.Czar post currently up for review - desperately wants to see his contract extended from three to five years.Probably inconceivable that his wish will not be granted.